Mankato, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team opened the game with a 17-4 run and would control the remainder of the game on Tuesday night when the Gusties defeated Bethany Lutheran College 80-63 at North Gymnasium. Gustavus improves to 3-0 on the season, while the Vikings fall to 0-2.
After Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.) opened the game with a jumper to take a 2-0 lead, Jacob Wensmann tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of free throws. The free throws signified the closest the Vikings would come the remainder of the night as the Gusties scored 15 of the next 17 points to open up a 17-4 lead on a Jordan Dick (Sr., Wabasha, Minn.) three-pointer with 13:41 left in the first half.
Bethany cut the lead to seven points (17-10) one-minute later thanks in large part to four consecutive Gustavus turnovers, but the Gusties responded with a 19-3 run to take their largest lead of the half – 23 points (36-13) – with 2:43 remaining. Bethany then closed the half on a 7-0 run to bring the lead to 16 points (36-20) at halftime.
The Gusties would lead the entire second half by double-digits, leading by as many as 25 points with a score of 50-25 before settling for the 17-point win.
In the half, the Gusties shot an impressive 64.2 percent (18-28), but 11 turnovers held the Gustavus offense in check. The Gusties committed a total of 16 turnovers in the game compared to 18 for the Vikings.
“All in all, we played okay” mentioned Head Coach Mark Hanson. “Once we got a lead, we got a little bit sloppy, especially in the second half with the turnovers. I thought we were a little too relaxed against their pressure. We didn’t make the ball fakes and strong moves that I believe we normally would, and I think some of that came from softening up because of our lead.”
For the game, Gustavus shot 58.2 percent (32-55) from the floor, including a 52.9 percent (9-17) mark from behind the three-point line. The defense also played well, holding Bethany to just a 38.0 percent (21-54) clip and 33.3 percent (7-21) from three-point range.
“Our good shooting tonight was because of our passing,” stated Brody Ziegler. “We look for the best shot possible, so we have guys that are willing to pass up a good shot to get an even better shot. We just play really well together as a team.”
Tuesday night marked the third straight game that the Gusties have shot over 50 percent from the field. It was also the third straight game Gustavus has reached the 80-point plateau. The last time a Gustavus team accomplished both feats was in the 2005-06 season in what was also a 3-0 start to the season.
Gustavus outrebounded Bethany 32-30, but gave up 12 offensive rebounds. However, the Gusties also enjoyed a 34-18 advantage in points in the paint and a 30-11 advantage in bench scoring.
“They were a little undersized inside, and we were able to take advantage of that,” stated Ziegler. “We still have a lot to improve on, and hopefully we can do that this week.”
Three Gusties scored in double-figures on the night, led by Brody Ziegler who notched a career-high 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the floor and 4 of 5 at the free throw line. Jordan Dick followed with 14, including four three-pointers. Chris Narum (So., Eagan, Minn.) provided a spark off the bench with a career-high 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting from downtown and 1 for 2 from the charity stripe.
Although he scored just three points, Martin Feddersen (Jr., Winona, Minn.) played the role of maestro for the Gustavus offense once again on Tuesday night. The junior dished out nine assists the go along with a team-high five rebounds on the night. He now has 27 assists through the first three games of the season (9.0 apg).
Darin Haugh led the way for Bethany with 20 points and three assists, while Jacob Wensmann followed with 12 points. Trent Kuechenmeister was the only other Viking to score in double-figures with 11 points. Wensmann also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
The Gusties will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Morris, Minn., for a non-conference match up with the University of Minnesota, Morris. Saturday will be a double-header with the Gustavus women’s team. The women are set to tip off at 1:00 p.m., with the men to follow at 3:00 p.m.
“We don’t know too much about Morris yet,” finished Ziegler. “We will learn more about them later in the week, but they are picked to be one of the better teams in their league, so we expect it to be a good game. We are looking forward to it.”