Second Half Surge Pushes Men’s Basketball Past Concordia In MIAC Opener

Posted on November 30th, 2016 by

Alec Koster drives for a layup against Concordia. (photo by Roisen Granlund '17, Gustavus Sports Information)

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ST. PETER, Minn. – An 18-1 run midway through the second half provided more than enough of an advantage for the Gustavus men’s basketball team Wednesday night in its home and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener against Concordia as the Gusties cruised to a 92-75 victory at Gus Young Court. The victory is the first for the Gusties early in the season as they improve to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in the MIAC, while the Cobbers fall to 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the league.

“It took us a while to start defending as well as we needed to, but I thought offensively we did a lot of nice things,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. “It feels like it’s been a long time between wins after the first two losses this season and the whole offseason, so it’s nice to get the win.”

Jason Faul brings the ball up the court. (by Roisen Granlund)

Jason Faul brings the ball up the court. (by Roisen Granlund)

Leading 61-58 with 10:37 remaining in the game, a layup by Spencer Tollefson (So., New Richland, Minn.) sparked a run of seven consecutive made shots from the floor, including four straight three-pointers from Riley Sharbono (So., Marshall, Minn.) and Austin Goetz (Jr., Chaska, Minn.). Three minutes after the scoring spree had started, the Gusties led 79-59 with 7:47 remaining in the game and held on for a convincing 17-point victory.

The start of the game was a back-and-forth affair with six ties and two lead changes over the first eight minutes, leading to a 16-16 score at the 11:55 mark. Gustavus slowly gained the advantage, leading by as much as seven points with two minutes remaining in the half, but a questionable foul ensued by a technical foul put the Cobbers on the charity stripe for five shots. Concordia made 4-of-5 from the line after the fouls, and was able to grab the rebound after the last missed free throw for a put-back jumper as time expired to tie the game at halftime, 43-43.

The Gusties held a slim advantage in the early-going of the second half, leading up to the impressive 18-1 run, which put them ahead for good.

Five Gusties reached double figures, led by Sharbono with a career-high 20 points. The sophomore wing made 7-of-13 shots from the field, including 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Alec Koster (Sr., Redwood Falls, Minn.), Peter Kruize (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.), Ben Lies (Sr., Hutchinson, Minn.), and Jason Faul (Jr., Prior Lake, Minn.) also accumulated double digits with 14, 13, 13, and 10 points, respectively.

The Black and Gold reserves did well, outscoring the Cobber bench 33-13. Gustavus shot a season-high 52.3 percent from the field, including 47.1 percent from three-point range. The one blemish on an otherwise impressive outing was Gustavus’s foul trouble as it was whistled 29 times, compared to 15 fouls by Concordia.

“The main thing is we need to quit fouling so much,” Hanson said. “They scored a lot of points from the free throw line, more than we’d like, so we need to clean that up.”

Gustavus continues MIAC play at 3 p.m. Saturday at Macalester College.

 

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