St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team dropped its third straight game on Wednesday night at Gus Young Court, falling to Saint John’s 68-63. The Gusties led with just under four minutes to play, but could not hold on as the Johnnies finished the game on a 9-1 run to capture the win.
Mitchell Kuck led all scorers with 21 points off the bench on 9 of 14 shooting for Saint John’s. Brian Jacobs (Jr., Lake Crystal, Minn.) led the Gusties in scoring with a career-high 20 points on 9 of 13 shooting. With tonight’s result, Gustavus drops to 12-8 overall and 9-6 in the MIAC, while Saint John’s improves to 10-9 overall and 8-6 in league play.
The two teams went toe-to-toe in the opening frame. Neither team would lead by more than six points in a half that featured eight ties and six lead changes. Eventually the Johnnies would take a three-point lead (35-32) into the break.
Gustavus shot a blistering 65 percent (13-20) in the first half, but turned the ball over 10 times. Saint John’s made 51.9 percent (14-27) and scored eight points off of Gustavus’s 10 giveaways.
The second half proved to be much like the first, as neither team led by more than six points. Saint John’s would enjoy the lead much of the frame until Martin Feddersen (Jr., Winona, Minn.) tied the game with a layup with five minutes remaining.
On their next possession, the Gusties took their first lead of the second half when Brian Jacobs converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give his team a three-point lead (62-59) with 3:55 to play.
However, on the ensuing possession, Mitchell Kuck returned the favor with his own layup and-one that tied the game back up. The score proved to be the back-breaker, as it ignited a 9-1 run to finish the game. Gustavus could not get anything going offensively down the stretch and the Johnnies escaped with the five-point win.
“When we needed a stop in the second half we didn’t get it,” mentioned Head Coach Mark Hanson. “We got the lead and we gave up a three-point play on the ensuing possession, which was deflating for us. We then didn’t have many good possessions down the stretch and that was disappointing.”
For the game, Gustavus shot 54.2 percent (26-48), while Saint John’s shot an even 50 percent (26-52). The Gusties also held the advantage in rebounding 28-22, but gave the ball away 17 times compared to 10 for the Johnnies. Those 17 turnovers led to 17 Saint John’s points.
“I’m certainly not pleased with the number of turnovers we had and the timeliness of them,” said Hanson. “If we don’t turn the ball over so much in the first half we would have been in a much better position, but that killed us tonight.”
Leading the way with his 20 points, Brian Jacobs was one of three Gustavus players to score in double-figures. Martin Feddersen and Jordan Dick (Sr., Wabasha, Minn.) followed with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Feddersen finished 6 of 9 from the floor.
Kuck led the Johnnies in scoring with 21 points. Joining him in double-figure scoring was Patrick Butcher with 16 points and Blake Maslonkowski with 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting. Maslonkowski also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
Gustavus will be back in action again on Wednesday night when it hosts Macalester at 7:30 p.m.