Collegeville, Minn. – A Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.) jumper on the opening possession of the game would prove to be the only lead change in a 71-47 win over Saint John’s for the Gustavus men’s basketball team on Wednesday night at Sexton Arena. The Gusties would not relinquish the lead, holding the advantage for all but 24 seconds of the contest to cruise to the convincing 24-point win. Jordan Dick (Sr., Wabasha, Minn.) paced the Gusties with 17 points, while Ziegler added 14 points and seven rebounds. With the win, Gustavus improves to 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the MIAC. Saint John’s drops to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in MIAC play.
The two teams went back and forth through the first five minutes of the game, which saw Gustavus out to a two-point advantage (10-8) following a Kevin McKenzie free throw for Saint John’s. From there, the Gusties took off on a 15-4 run over the next seven minutes to take a 13-point lead (25-12) with 8:04 remaining in the opening half. Five different players scored in the run that was sparked by a Sergio Najera (So., New Prague, Minn.) offensive rebound and put-back.
The Johnnies came back to score four straight points and cut the lead to nine points (26-16), but the Gusties finished the half on an 11-2 run to take an 18-point lead (36-18) into the break.
Gustavus shot just 48.4 percent (15-31) from the floor, but held Saint John’s to 30.4 percent (7-23) shooting in the first half. The Gusties also outrebounded the Johnnies 23-12 in the frame.
Saint John’s showed life in the opening minutes of the second half, immediately cutting the lead to 13 points (37-24) with 17:14 remaining thanks to a 6-1 run to begin the half. However, a monstrous one-handed dunk by Brody Ziegler on the ensuing Gustavus possession would all but take the wind out of the Johnnies’ sails. Ziegler was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to extend the lead back to 16 points (40-24) with 16:33 to play. The dunk was the first installment of a 12-4 run to open up a 21-point lead (52-31) at the midway point of the second half.
From there, Gustavus was in control for the remainder of the contest. The Gusties would lead by as many as 27 points in the final minutes before settling with the 24-point margin.
For the game, Gustavus shot an even 50 percent (28-56) from the floor, while Saint John’s was held to 38.3 percent (18-47) shooting. The Gusties held a 37-23 advantage on the boards, which included a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass. Gustavus also held the upper hand in the turnover battle with an advantage of 14-9.
Jordan Dick led all scorers with 17 points to pace the Gusties. Dick went 6 for 9 from the floor, including 4 for 5 from three-point range, and also added five rebounds. Brody Ziegler followed Dick with 14 points and seven rebounds. Like Jordan, Brody also was 6 for 9 from the field. The Gusties also got key contributions from Sergio Najera and Peter Kruize (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) off the bench. Najera chipped in a career-high 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting. He also pulled down five rebounds, three of which were offensive. Kruize finished with 10 points and four rebounds.
Alex Schmitt came off the bench to lead Saint John’s in scoring. Schmitt scored 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting. Blake Maslonkowski was the only other Johnnie to score in double-figures with 11 points to go along with a team-high five rebounds.
The Gusties will now have nearly three weeks off over the Holiday break. Their next game will be on New Year’s Eve (Tuesday, Dec. 31) when they host UW-La Crosse for a 3:00 p.m., opening tip at Gus Young Court.