St. Paul, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team opened Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) play with an 80-62 win over Hamline University on Wednesday night at Hutton Arena. Gustavus built a 14-point (41-27) halftime lead and would never look back on its way to the win. Jordan Dick (Sr., Wabasha, Minn.) poured in a career-high 21 points to pace the Gusties, who improve to 4-1 (1-0 MIAC), while the Pipers fall to 2-2 (0-1 MIAC).
A pair of runs in the first half aided Gustavus in opening up its halftime lead. A Chad Poppen (So., St. Peter, Minn.) three-pointer 6:22 into the game sparked a 9-0 run that was capped off by a Peter Kruize (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) jumper to give the Gusties a 19-12 lead with 11:30 remaining in the opening half.
Nearly three minutes later, a layup by Isaac Tapp (Jr., Stewartville, Minn.) ignited a 7-0 run that would put Gustavus in front by 16 points (35-19) with 5:49 remaining in the first. From there, the Gusties would hold on to take the 41-27 lead to the break.
The Pipers opened the second half on a 7-1 run to pull within 10 points (42-32) just 2:36 into the frame. The Gusties responded with a 7-2 run to extend their lead back to 15 points on a Sergio Najera (So., New Prague, Minn.) jumper with 15:56 still remaining.
Hamline then began to chip away at the Gustavus lead, and eventually cut the margin to eight points (55-47) on an Austin Johnson steal that led to a fast break dunk with 10:29 to play. However, the Gusties extended their lead back to double-digits 17 seconds later when Kruize hit a turnaround jumper on the ensuing possession.
The Pipers would cut the lead to eight points twice more, but it was all the closer they would get as the Gusties took off on a 14-5 run to take an 18-point lead (74-56) with 2:18 remaining. Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.) proved to be Gustavus’s go-to player down the stretch, scoring seven of his 17 points in the run.
From there, the Gusties coasted to the 18-point victory, making 4 of 4 free throws in the final two minutes.
Gustavus continued its strong shooting to start the year on Wednesday night, connecting on 27 of 46 field goal attempts (58.7%) in the game, including 8 of 14 (57.1%) from three-point range. The Gusties also improved from the free throw line, connecting on 18 of 24 attempts (75%). Hamline shot 50 percent (24-48) from the field and 33.3 percent (6-18) from three.
The Gusties also held the advantage in rebounding with a margin of 28-20 on the night.
Gustavus placed three players in double-figure scoring, led by Jordan Dick with 21 points on 7 for 11 shooting from the floor, including 5 for 9 from three-point range. The last time a Gustie player made five three-pointers in a game was on February 13th, 2010 when Jesse Van Sickle ’10 nailed five triples against Bethel.
Brody Ziegler followed with 17 points, 11 of which came in the second half, on 6 of 9 shooting from the field and 5 of 7 at the charity stripe. Isaac Tapp was the final Gustie to finish in double-figures with 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
Dior Ford scored 25 points to lead the Pipers. Of his 25 points, 17 came in the second half on 7 of 9 shooting. For the game, Ford went 10 for 15 from the field. Austin Johnson chipped in nine points and five rebounds, while Bennett Cooper added a game-high seven rebounds off the bench.
The Gusties will be in action again on Saturday afternoon when they host Concordia College in St. Peter. Saturday’s opening tip is set for 3:00 p.m., following the women’s game.