Northfield, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team opened 2014 with an 80-58 loss to St. Olaf College on Saturday at Skoglund Center. The Oles opened the game on a 20-4 run and would never look back on the way to the 22-point victory.
St. Olaf’s Justin Pahl proved to be too much for the Gusties, scoring a game-high 29 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field, including a 6 for 9 mark from three-point range and 7 for 7 at the free throw line. Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.) led Gustavus in scoring with 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting.
The Oles improve to 6-3 (3-1 MIAC), while the Gusties suffer their first loss in MIAC play and move to 7-3 (4-1 MIAC).
Gustavus took the first lead 1:32 into the game on a Ziegler layup. On the ensuing possession, Justin Pahl nailed his first of six three-pointers on the day. The triple sparked a 25-4 run for St. Olaf that proved to be insurmountable for the Gusties. Pahl would score 11 the first 13 points for the Oles, and would finish the first half with 16 points, helping the Oles take a 39-19 halftime lead.
St. Olaf shot 46.7 percent (14-30) in the opening frame compared to just 30 percent (6-20) for Gustavus. The Oles also forced the Gusties to commit 13 turnovers in contrast to just four of their own.
Gustavus cut the lead to 18 points on its opening possession of the second half on another basket by Ziegler, but it was the closest the Gusties would come for the remainder of the afternoon as the Oles took of on an 18-7 run to take a 29-point lead (57-28), their largest of the game.
The Gusties would shrink the lead to under 20 points just once more on an Alec Koster (Fr., Redwood Falls, Minn.) three-point basket before settling for the 22-point defeat.
After shooting 54.2 percent (13-24) in the second half, Gustavus finished the game with a mark of 43.2 percent (19-44), compared to 49 percent (25-51) for St. Olaf. The Oles also held the advantage in rebounding (27-22) and turnovers (16-10).
Pahl was the only Ole to finish in double figures on the afternoon. Connor Gunderson came next with nine points and scored a team-high six rebounds.
Joining Ziegler in double figure scoring for Gustavus was Peter Kruize (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) with 11 points. Martin Feddersen (Jr., Winona, Minn.) pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and dished out four assists.
Gustavus will next travel to St. Paul, Minn., to take on Macalester College on Monday, Jan. 6th, while St. Olaf will host Concordia College.