Men’s Basketball Tips Off 2017-18 Season At North Park Invite

Posted on November 16th, 2017 by

Gustavus vs. IIT
Date: Friday, November 17
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Chicago, Ill. | North Park Gymnasium
Live Coverage: Video

Gustavus vs. Blackburn
Date: Saturday, November 18
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Chicago, Ill. | North Park Gymnasium
Live Coverage: Video

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team is set to begin its 2017-18 campaign this weekend at the North Park University Invite in Chicago, Ill. with games against Illinois Institute of Technology and Blackburn College.

The Gusties will face Illinois Institute of Technology at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by a 5 p.m. matchup against Blackburn on Saturday.

About the Gusties

Head Coach Mark Hanson is in his 28th season at the helm of the Gustie men’s team and his squad is looking to improve on a ninth place finish in the MIAC a year ago when it finished 5-15 in the conference with a 5-20 overall record.

The Gusties return a majority of their offense, boasting four
 of its top five scorers from last season. Riley Sharbono (Jr., Marshall, Minn.) returns as the leading scorer from last season, starting in all 25 games averaging 14.5 points per game while earning MIAC All-Conference honorable mention honors. Through two seasons in Black and Gold, Sharbono owns 551 career points.

With a solid core of returners, Gustavus returns 65 percent of its scoring. Kelsey Thomas (Sr., Wiesdbaden, Germany), Spencer Tollefson (Jr., New Richland, Minn.), Jason Faul (Sr., Prior Lake, Minn.), and Austin Goetz (Chaska, Minn.) bring back a good chunk of experience, each playing in at least 20 games last season.

“I have been impressed with our effort and intent in practice so far,” said Head Coach Mark Hanson. “Our experienced guys have been helpful to our first year group. We have battled some injuries and illness, but we are ready to go against some guys in other uniforms and continue the learning process.”

Seniors Austin Goetz and Coleman Sweeney (Lake City, Minn.) will co-captain the Black and Gold. Goetz returns after averaging 23.5 minutes per game last season, while Sweeney is back for a fifth-year after missing the majority of last season due to injury.

As a team, Gustavus averaged 68.0 points per game last season while owning a 45.9 percent field goal percentage and shooting 33.7 percent from beyond the arc. The 2017-18 Gusties feature 10 returners, while welcoming five first-years (seven newcomers) to the 17-man roster.

“We have had additional emphasis on defense. It is an ongoing process, but we have made some inroads,” Hanson commented.

Gusties picked to finish eighth in MIAC

Gustavus was voted to finish eighth in the MIAC 2017-18 standings, as voted on by MIAC coaches. No. 20-ranked Saint John’s University is the preseason pick of conference coaches to finish atop the men’s standings, while the University of St. Thomas and Bethel University tied for No. 2 as the defending co-regular season champions.

The 2017-18 season features a 25-game schedule with five non-conference and 20 league games. The five non-conference games include Illinois Institute of Technology, Blackburn College, Buena Vista University, Central College, and the University of Minnesota-Morris. Conference play begins Nov. 29 at Gus Young Court against Saint Mary’s University.



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