Men’s Basketball Topples Saint John’s 63-62 In Final Seconds Posted on February 17th, 2016 by

AJ Hatchett looks inside against David Stokman of Saint John's (photo by Chris Coquyt, Gustavus Sports Information)

AJ Hatchett looks inside against David Stokman of Saint John’s (photo by Chris Coquyt, Gustavus Sports Information)


ST. PETER, Minn. – To say the past four games for the Gustavus men’s basketball team have been exciting would just scratch the surface of describing them. Two overtime games and another decided on the last shot led to a similar ending Wednesday as the Gusties defeated Saint John’s 63-62, taking the lead with four seconds on the clock on a Brody Ziegler (Sr., Mankato, Minn.) put-back, and then watching the Johnnies’ final shot at the buzzer clank off the rim. The victory improves the Gusties to 11-13 overall and 8-11 in the MIAC, while the Johnnies fall to 17-7 overall and 12-7 in the league.

The first half play was sloppy on both ends of the court as Gustavus turned the ball over nine times compared to seven turnovers by the Johnnies. The Gusties also shot a pedestrian 28.6 percent (8-28) from the floor, including 3-of-11 from beyond the arc.

“I thought we defended them well in the first half, but offensively we didn’t have much going,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. “They defended us well, but we didn’t make them defend us long enough and we didn’t make it a point to get it inside as much. We had a lot of three-point shot opportunities, we just weren’t making them.”

Saint John’s jumped out to an early 14-2 lead in the first five minutes, taking advantage of Gustavus making only one of its first eight shots. The Johnnies led by as many as 13 points, twice, in the opening half, but the Gusties cut into the deficit with 10 unanswered points to make it a two-point game, 24-22, at the 4:00 mark. Saint John’s responded right back with six unanswered points to end the half with a 30-22 lead.

Gustavus turned the momentum in its favor to start the second half with a 13-2 run. A pair of free throws by Peter Kruize (Jr., St. Peter, Minn.) at the 15:49 mark gave the Gusties their first lead of the game at 35-34. Over the ensuing six minutes there were four lead changes and a tie, resulting in a 43-42 advantage for the Gusties. The Black and Gold maintained a slim advantage until a pair of free throws gave the visitors a 50-49 lead with 6:15 on the clock. From that point on, there were five ties and seven lead changes.

Riley Sharbono brings the ball up the court. (photo by Chris Coquyt)

Riley Sharbono brings the ball up the court. (photo by Chris Coquyt)

“We got the ball inside more and we got some things out of it,” Hanson said of his team’s second half performance. “Even our missed shots I thought were better. The one thing we didn’t do well was shoot free throws and that could have made a big difference in the game.”

After a Saint John’s timeout and trailing 62-61 with 24 seconds remaining in the contest, Chris Narum (Sr., Eagan, Minn.) fired a three-pointer and missed, but Gary Cooper (Sr., Detroit, Mich.) hauled in the rebound to reset the offense. Narum then looked for another opportunity for the go-ahead basket on the baseline, but his shot was off the mark. Ziegler then went up high for the rebound and made the put-back lay-in with just four seconds remaining to give Gustavus a one-point advantage. The Johnnies got off a last-second three-pointer, but the shot was no good, giving the Gusties the victory.

Ziegler finished with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. He also made 4-of-7 from the free throw line and hauled in seven rebounds. Cooper recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The senior wing also added four steals and two assists. Narum was the third Gustie to reach double figures with 10 points.

“Brody has had a pretty good year in all, statistically,” Hanson said. “Some games better than others, but these last two I think he’s played really well. Chris Narum has continued to play well. Chad Poppen seems more confortable and is fully back from his injury. And hopefully we can finish up well on Saturday.”

Gustavus finished the game shooting just 38.2 percent (21-55) from the floor, including 26.3 percent (5-19) from three-point range and 16-of-25 from the charity stripe. The Johnnies out-rebounded the Gusties 41-34, but committed more turnovers, 17-15.

Gustavus wraps up the season at 1 p.m. Saturday against Carleton. The Gustavus Athletic Department will honor the six seniors as they play their final game at Gus Young Court.


Comments are closed.