Defense Shines, Men’s Basketball Beats Hamline 65-44

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by

Coleman Sweeney defends Hamline's Nick Kampa in Wednesday night's win (Photo courtesy of Zach Burnside '17)

St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team held Hamline University to just 34.8 percent (16-46) shooting from the field in a 65-44 win on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court.  After a tightly contested first half, the Gusties used an 11-0 run midway through the second to take a 12-point lead (46-34) and would control the game the rest of the way.  Jordan Dick (Sr., Wabasha, Minn.) and Peter Kruize (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) each scored 11 points to lead Gustavus in scoring.  Hamline’s Dior Ford tossed in 16 points to lead all scorers.  With tonight’s result, the Gusties improve to 11-5 overall and 8-3 in the MIAC, while the Pipers drop to 7-9 overall and 4-7 in league play.

“I thought we defended pretty well,” said Head Coach Mark Hanson following Wednesday night’s win.  “They have some very nice offensive players, especially in the post.  I think our post players handled that well.  If you hold any team in this league to 35 percent shooting, you’re going to give yourself a chance to win.”

In a slow first half that saw Gustavus take a 26-24 lead into halftime, the Gusties shot 43.5 percent (10-23) from the floor, while holding the Pipers to just 36.4 percent (8-22) shooting.

Hamline’s Dior Ford and Gustavus’s Brian Jacobs (Jr., Lake Crystal, Minn.) were the half’s leading scorers, as each player scored nine points.  Ford was 4 of 9 from the floor in the half, while Jacobs went 4 for 5.

The two teams traded baskets to open the second half.  Hamline took its first lead since the opening two minutes with 17:03 remaining in the game on a three-pointer from Ford.  The lead would not last long, though, as the Gusties would regain the lead for good on the next possession when Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.) converted an offensive rebound and put-back to give Gustavus a 30-29 lead.

Peter Kruize finished with 11 points in the win.

Peter Kruize finished with 11 points in the win.

Three minutes later, Coleman Sweeney (Fr., Lake City, Minn.) went 1 for 2 at the free throw line to give Gustavus a two-point lead (36-34) with 13:28 to play.  The free throw ignited an 11-0 run for the Gusties that would open up a 12-point lead and prove to be too much for the Pipers to handle.

After Sweeney’s free throw, Peter Kruize was fouled on a jumper and converted the free throw to extend the lead to five points (39-34).  Three possessions later, Chad Poppen (So., St. Peter, Minn.) stole a Hamline pass and was fouled in transition.  Poppen made one and the lead was six points.

On Gustavus’s next offensive possession, Sweeney knocked down a three from the left wing before assisting on a Poppen three from the right corner on the ensuing trip down the floor.  The back-to-back threes forced Hamline Head Coach Jim Hayes to call a timeout, but the damage was done, as the Gusties took a 12-point lead (46-34) and would control the game the rest of the way.

“The back-to-back threes gave us a boost.  They gave us a lead that also cut off a little momentum they had built,” commented Hanson.  “For whatever reason, it also picked up our defense.”

The Pipers would cut the lead to single digits just once more on the night before Gustavus ran away with the 21-point win.

After a slow shooting half in the first, the Gusties shot 53.8 percent (14-26) in the second for a game total of 49 percent (24-49), while holding Hamline to just 34.8 percent (16-46).  Gustavus also forced 16 Piper turnovers compared to nine of its own.

“We struggled a little bit in the first half of finding a flow,” admitted Hanson.  “In the second half, we got into more of a flow and that helps our shooting percentage.”

Gustavus was led in scoring by Jordan Dick and Peter Kruize with 11 points each.  Dick was 4 for 8 from the field, including a 3 of 5 mark from three-point range, while Kruize was nearly perfect with four makes on five attempts.  He was also 3 for 3 from the free throw line.  Martin Feddersen (Jr., Winona, Minn.) grabbed a team-high five rebounds and Chad Poppen dished out four assists.

Dior Ford led the Pipers in scoring with 16 points on 7 of 16 shooting.  Bennett Cooper brought down a game-high 10 boards.

Gustavus will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Moorhead, Minn., for a battle with Concordia.  That game is scheduled to tip off at 3:00 p.m., directly following the women’s game.

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