Strong Second Half Leads Men’s Basketball To 65-59 Win Over Hamline

Posted on December 9th, 2017 by

Kelsey Thomas extends towards the hoop. (Photo courtesy of Jake Noel, Gustavus Sports Information)

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ST. PETER, Minn. – Trailing by four points at halftime, the Gustavus men’s basketball team opened the second half on a 21-8 run and maintained the lead for the rest of the game Saturday evening at Gus Young Court to stay unbeaten during Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

The Gusties, now 6-2 overall and 4-0 in the MIAC, shot 26-for-48 from the field and out-rebounded Hamline by a margin of 41-22.

Gustavus turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, while the Pipers gained their largest lead of the half near the midway point, leading 16-8 over the Gusties. Nearly half of Hamline’s first half efforts came from a perfect 5-5 field goal, 2-2 three-point field goal, and 2-2 free throw, 14-point performance form TC Robinson. A late three-pointer from Zach Bloemker (Fy., Marshall, Minn.) gave the home team some confidence heading into the second half, cutting the Hamline lead to 30-26 heading into the intermission.

The Black and Gold came out strong after the break, shooting 5-6 from the field and claiming a 36-34 lead with a Riley Sharbono (Jr., Marshall, Minn.) just over three minutes into the second half. From then on, Gustavus held on to its lead for the remainder of the game, twice gaining a 13-point lead, the largest of the game. A Jason Faul (Sr., Prior Lake, Minn.) free throw gave the Gusties a 50-37 lead at the 11:31 minute mark prior to Hamline slowly creeping its way back into the game.

“We’re at the point that even if we are missing shots offensively, our defense can win games. We switched up how we were defending screens a little bit,” Sharbono commented on the second half adjustments.

Following the Gusties’ second 13-point lead of the half, the Pipers went on a 20-10 run to cut the Gustavus lead to 60-57 with a minute left on the scoreboard. However, a clutch three-pointer from Faul and two free throws from Sharbono with under 20 seconds remaining sealed the fifth consecutive victory for the Gusties.

“We just needed to do the things we do best,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. “I thought our defense was pretty solid. Keeping a team to 35 percent shooting, you have to be happy about that.”

A collective effort guided the Gustavus offense. Faul and Sharbono led the Gusties with 13 points each, while Sharbono was perfect from the charity stripe and led the team with seven rebounds. Vannis Smith (So., Crystal Lake, Ill.) followed with 10 points, along with Bloemker collecting nine, and eight from Schuyler Thompson (Sr., Milville, Minn.).

Gustavus returns to action on Wednesday, heading to St. Paul, Minn. to take on the University of St. Thomas in search of its fifth-straight conference win.

 

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