Men’s Basketball Claims Fourth Straight Win With 77-67 Victory Over Northwestern Posted on December 6th, 2014 by

ST. PETER, MINN. – Three days after defeating the No. 5 ranked team in the nation in St. Thomas, the Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team showed little sign of slowing down in a 77-67 victory over the University of Northwestern on Saturday afternoon at Gus Young Court. The victory was the fourth straight for the Gusties who are now 5-1 overall. With the loss, Northwestern drops to 1-7.

“I thought Northwestern did some really nice things; they have some great athletes up there,” said head coach Mark Hanson. “We didn’t play their tendencies very well…we gave up a number of second chance opportunities and had too many turnovers, but we were pretty sharp offensively in that first half. When we shoot 74-percent, we should probably be ahead more at halftime, but in the end, we got the W and I’m proud of our kids for sticking with it again.”

Brody Ziegler was one of four Gusties to reach double digit scoring on Saturday.

Brody Ziegler was one of four Gusties to reach double digit scoring on Saturday.

Much of that sharp offensive play in the first half came from center Sergio Najera (Jr., New Prague, Minn.). The big man scored 17 of his 19 total points in the first half to help the Gusties take a nine point lead (43-34) into halftime.

“I was getting the foul calls so I just kept taking it to the hoop,” said Najera. “There’s not that much that can go wrong when you’re straight up aggressive. When I was open, I’d shoot and when I thought I could beat them one on one I tried to take them.”

Gustavus trailed 21-16 with 11:17 remaining in the first half, but proceeded to go on a 17-4 run over the next five plus minutes to take a 33-26 lead at the six minute mark, with 13 of those points coming from Najera.

Northwestern chipped away at the Gustie lead in the second half, and got as close as one point, a 57-56 Gustie lead with 10:07 remaining. However, Gustavus would never trail in the final half and went on a 12-3 run to build its lead to 10 (69-59) with four minutes remaining in the game. From there, Gustavus’s lead would never drop below seven and the home team came away with the 77-67 victory.

“We always come out a little bit slow in the second half and that’s something we definitely need to keep working on,” said Najera. “When we have a lead, we tend to get comfortable with it and begin to lose our intensity on both ends of the floor. We managed to recover and come out with a win which is ultimately what matters, but playing the full 40 minutes is something we really need to work on.”

Gustavus had four players in double digit scoring, including Najera with 19, Isaac Tapp (Sr., Stewartville, Minn.) with 11 and Martin Feddersen (Sr., Winona, Minn.) and Brody Ziegler (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) with 10 apiece. Feddersen and Ziegler added six and five rebounds, respectively and Gary Cooper (Jr., Detroit, Mich.) added nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

“Balance has been a staple of who we are for a number of years,” said Hanson. “We share the ball well and get the ball to the players that are hot at the time.”

Will Gisler led the way for the Eagles with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He also pulled down seven boards.

Gustavus shot 65.9-percent in the game on 29-of-44 shooting compared with Northwestern shooting 41.5-percent (22-of-53).

The Gusties will take on Carleton College in their next game on Wednesday evening in Northfield, Minnesota. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at West Gym.

“Carleton has a very nice post group and a perimeter group that was very young last year that I suspect has improved significantly this year,” said Hanson. “We are going to have to play our best in order to beat them, especially at their place.”

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