Second Half Comeback Not Enough, Men’s Basketball Falls 69-65 At St. Olaf

Posted on December 7th, 2016 by


NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Despite erasing a double-digit deficit to come within two points in the second half, the Gustavus men’s basketball team was unable to take the lead in a 69-65 loss at St. Olaf on Wednesday. The loss is the first for the Gusties in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as they move to 2-1 and 2-3 overall, while the Oles improve to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.

“We battled pretty hard in the second half, but I don’t think we put up that kind of fight in the first half and it got us in enough trouble that we couldn’t get all the way back,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said.

Three Gusties reached double figures, led by Peter Kruize (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.) with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the floor. Spencer Tollefson (So., New Richland, Minn.) posted a career-high 17 points and Riley Sharbono (So., Marshall, Minn.) added 10 points. Tollefson also added five rebounds to lead the Gusties, while Alec Koster (Sr., Redwood Falls, Minn.) distributed a game-high five assists.

Gustavus started the game on the right foot, taking an 11-6 lead after the first four minutes, but the Oles went on a 19-7 run over the next seven minutes to take a 25-18 advantage at the 9:00 mark, forcing a Gustie timeout. The Black and Gold cut the deficit to four at the 5:56 mark, but the Oles had another answer and increased their lead to 39-28 at halftime. The home squad shot 60.7 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, while the Gusties were held to 37 percent.

After St. Olaf scored the first four points of the second half, the Gusties fired back with a 20-7 run to come within two points (50-48) at the 11:12 mark. The Oles padded their lead with seven answered points before the visitors charged back with a 7-1 run, making the score 58-55 with 5:16 to go. St. Olaf was able to fend off the comeback and maintained its lead the rest of the way to seal the victory.

“We missed a lot of shots in the first half and the looks probably weren’t all that different in the second, but I think in the second half we took shots with more of a rhythm,” Hanson said. “I like a lot of what I am seeing, for sure. We have a lot of good kids, but the realities are there are ups and downs. I think overall they give us a really good effort and the push is to try and get more of an effort. If we learn from today, then progress will be made.”

Gustavus finished the game shooting 45.3 percent from the field, while the Oles shot 52.9 percent. St. Olaf won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Gusties 33-24.

Gustavus next travels to Saint Mary’s for a 3 p.m. tipoff Saturday.


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