Men’s Basketball Loses Heartbreaker On Last Second Shot At St. Thomas

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team took St. Thomas all the way down to the wire Wednesday, but a last second shot found the bottom of the net giving the Tommies a thrilling 59-57 win. The battle between Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rivals featured 10 lead changes and eight ties. Gustavus drops to 5-15 overall and 5-10 in the MIAC, while league leading St. Thomas improves to 16-4 overall and 12-3 in the league.

“I thought our defensive effort was really good,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. “I think we made them beat us going away from their strengths. Unfortunately, we missed a few bunnies that we’d love to have back and had some poor turnovers at times. You just can’t do that against good teams.”

Riley Sharbono (So., Marshall, Minn.), Jason Faul (Jr., Prior Lake, Minn.), and Peter Kruize (Sr., St. Peter, Minn.) scored 10 points apiece. Sharbono added a career-high five assists, while Kelsey Thomas (Jr., Wiesbaden, Germany) hauled in six rebounds.

After the first 9:30 of the game, St. Thomas held a 15-11 advantage until Gustavus went on a 12-4 run to take its largest lead of the game, 23-19, with 6:21 to play in the half. The Tommies responded, though, and finished the half with six unanswered points for a 36-30 lead at the break.

St. Thomas increased its lead to 43-32, its largest of the game, at the 15:12 mark, but the Gusties would not lay down. The visitors went on a 13-3 over the next seven minutes, cutting the lead to one at 46-45. St. Thomas maintained the advantage until a layup by Faul with 3:13 to play tied the score 53-53. The next four possessions saw the Tommies regain a two-point lead followed by a Gustie answer to tie the game, leading to a 57-57 score with 29 seconds left. The Tommies took advantage of the last possession of the game as Grant Shaeffer made a move, shot faked, and then sunk the game-winner as time expired. Shaeffer led the Tommies with 25 points. The next leading scorer for the home team had seven points.

Gustavus shot 44.6 percent (25-56), while St. Thomas shot 46.8 percent (22-47). Neither team shot well from three point range (Gustavus 3-10, St. Thomas 4-12), but the Tommies took advantage of free throws, making 11-of-15, compared to just 4-of-5 for the Gusties. The Black and Gold won the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Tommies 32-27.

“I would hope the guys have mixed feelings of having lost a game that we could have won, but having played the top team in the conference to a single possession game,” Hanson said. “We have to build on some of those strengths, but moral victories aren’t really victories.”

Gustavus next hosts Hamline at 3 p.m. Saturday. Hamline won game one of the season series 77-60 on Jan. 16 in St. Paul.


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