Men’s Basketball Gets Much Needed Win With 70-51 Victory Over Saint Mary’s

Posted on February 14th, 2015 by

Isaac Tapp skies for a dunk in the Gusties' 70-51 victory over Saint Mary's on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Roisen Granlund '16)

SAINT PETER, MINN. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team was able to snap a three-game losing streak when it earned a 70-51 victory over visiting Saint Mary’s University on Saturday at Gus Young Court. The win moves the Gusties to 9-8 in the MIAC and 13-9 overall, while Saint Mary’s falls to 1-17 in the MIAC and 4-19 overall.

“There were more possessions today than there have been in our previous few games, which certainly makes a difference,” said head coach Mark Hanson. “We’ve played some teams that have played outstanding defense these past few games and fortunately we got our offense flowing pretty well today.”

Gustavus did indeed have a better offensive rhythm on Saturday as it reached the 70-point mark for the first time since an 82-61 victory over Hamline University on Dec. 13, 2014. The Gusties raced out to an early 16-6 lead and would never look back as they went on a 20-9 run over the first half’s final 11 minutes to take a 21-point advantage into halftime (36-15). Chad Poppen (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.) paced Gustavus in the opening frame as he scored nine points on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.

“If we hadn’t gotten sloppy with the ball in the first half, I think we would have had a more significant lead,” said Hanson. “That being said, we got some great things out of our defensive energy and that certainly helped our offense.”

Gustavus continued to keep its foot on the gas pedal in the second half and saw its lead grow to 23 (55-32) with 10:44 remaining in the game. With 6:14 left on the clock, Gustavus still saw its lead at 23 (62-39), but at that point, Saint Mary’s went on a 12-3 run over the next four minutes to cut the lead to 65-51 with 2:11 remaining. But the Gusties closed the game with five straight points to earn the 19-point victory and move into sole possession of sixth place in the MIAC.

“I was very pleased with the effort, but I wasn’t necessarily pleased with all of our choices,” said Hanson. “We need to continue focusing on valuing each possession and reducing our turnovers.”

Shooting 53.8 percent from the floor, Gustavus had its best overall shooting performance since its aforementioned game with Hamline when it shot 57.8 percent. Poppen led Gustavus with a career-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting (4-for-4 from long range), while Peter Kruize (Jr. St. Peter, Minn.) notched 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and grabbed eight boards. Brody Ziegler (Jr., Mankato, Minn.) was also in double-digits for the Gusties as he tallied 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting and nabbed five rebounds.

Mark Schumacher led Saint Mary’s with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Ronnie Ortiz also scored 12 points for the Cardinals.

Gustavus will play its final regular season home game when it welcomes Bethel University (11-6 MIAC, 15-7 overall) to Saint Peter for a key MIAC game on Monday evening. As is tradition at Gustavus, the final home game of the regular season is designated as Senior Night and a special tribute will be made to the individuals who have dedicated themselves to the Gustavus men’s basketball program for the past four years. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Gus Young Court.

“At this point in the season when we’re looking at playoff scenarios, each game is important,” said Hanson. “Especially with it being our last regular season home game, we want to put ourselves in a situation where we’ll be successful.”

Gustavus 70, Saint Mary’s 51 (Box Score) | Photo Gallery


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