Men’s Basketball Falls To No. 21 St. Olaf 82-68

Posted on February 7th, 2015 by

Peter Kruize scored 13 points and had five rebounds in an 82-68 loss to No. 21 St. Olaf College on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Roisen Granlund '17)

ST. PETER, MINN. – Despite making a season high eight three-point shots, the Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team was unable to come away with a victory against No. 21 St. Olaf College in an 82-68 loss on Saturday at Gus Young Court. The loss moves Gustavus to 8-6 in the MIAC and 12-7 overall, while St. Olaf improves to 12-3 in the MIAC and 17-3 overall.

“We did not put together a good first 20 minutes at all and that set the tone for the remainder of the game,” said head coach Mark Hanson. “We continually talk about needing to start and finish strong both and we did not do that today. I thought we showed quite a bit more life in the second half, but our turnovers in the first half killed us and you can’t go away with nine empty possessions and expect to stay in it. We were also on our heals defensively and didn’t make the stops we needed to.”

Similar to their last game against the Oles, the Gusties were able to keep the game close early on and led 9-8 at the 15:20 mark. Unfortunately, that would be the final lead Gustavus would see all day, as St. Olaf went on a 9-2 run over the next four minutes and would never look back. The Oles’ 6’8 junior center Ben Figini proved to be relentless inside, as he scored 14 of his 22 total points in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting. St. Olaf led by as many as 19 in the first half and took a 42-25 lead into the break.

“They pressured our wings a little bit more so we were further away from our comfort zone offensively,” said Hanson. “We certainly shot the ball better today, but we weren’t able to match their intensity.”

St. Olaf came out hot after halftime as well and still led by 19 (60-41) with 12:58 remaining in the game. But Gustavus battled back by going on a 10-0 run to have the lead cut to 60-51 by the 10:30 mark. From there, the two teams went back and forth for the next six minutes and the Gusties brought their defect to just seven (73-66) with 6:43 left on the clock. A 6-0 St. Olaf run over the next 2:02 proved to be too much for Gustavus to overcome, however, and the Oles were able to hold on and secure the 14-point win.

Gary Cooper (Jr., Detroit, Mich.) led Gustavus with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Sophomore Peter Kruize (St. Peter, Minn.) had 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and five rebounds and Sergio Najera (Jr., New Prague, Minn.) had four points, four rebounds and five assists. Overall, Gustavus shot 52.9 percent from the floor and was a season best 61.5 percent from long range.

Figini led the way for St. Olaf with a game high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Riley Aeikens tallied 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including going 2-for-2 from three-point range and also had a game high eight rebounds. The entire St. Olaf team had a hot shooting day, as it shot 58.8 percent from the field and 66.7 percent (6-for-9) from three. The Oles also out rebounded Gustavus 27-24.

“A game we need to learn from, but also forget about as we have another important and tough game in Augsburg on Monday,” said Hanson.

Monday’s game with the Auggies will take place at Si Melby Hall at 7 p.m. Augsburg won this season’s first contest between the two teams when it took home a 66-57 win over Gustavus on Jan. 7 in St. Peter.

St. Olaf 82, Gustavus 68 (Box Score) | Photo Gallery


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