Tradition of Excellence: 1987 Men’s Basketball Wins MIAC Playoffs Posted on March 17th, 2020 by

In the absence of sports for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year, Gustavus sports information will provide a series of stories to take a look back at great moments in Golden Gustie athletics history, celebrating its proud tradition of excellence.

February 28, 1987

Gusties Win MIAC Playoffs; Advance to NCAA Division III Playoffs

By Don Slarks, Gustavus Sports Information Director

The Gustavus Adolphus College men’s basketball team defeated Concordia and St. John’s in the MIAC playoffs to qualify for the NCAA Division III West Regional playoffs to be held at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska (March 6, 7).

With the support of a home crowd over 1500, the Gusties defeated semifinal opponent Concordia 58-52 last Thursday night in St. Peter. Gustavus, who had defeated Concordia in both regular season meetings, went into halftime with a 34-29 point lead. In the second half, the Gusties increased their lead to nine at the thirteen-minute mark, and never let the Cobbers get closer than the six-point final margin.

Forward Mike Brocker (Sr., Woodbury) and center Tony Jurek (So., Rochester/John Marshall) led the Gusties with 13 points each. Jurek added eight rebounds to help the Gusties outrebound the Cobbers 34 to 26.

Last Saturday night at Warner Palaestra on the St. John’s University campus, Gustavus went in as underdogs and came out qualifying for the NCAA Division III West Regional playoffs. Guard Jay Coatta (Sr., Hopkins/Lindbergh) led all scorers with 16, as Gustavus beat the MIAC regular-season champions 50-44.

Gustavus led 30-26 at half-time behind Coatta’s eleven points. GAC upped its lead to seven points three minutes into the second half on a three-point goal by Brocker. At the 9:50 mark, Jurek made the first of two free throw to give the Gusties a 44-37 lead. After those baskets, GAC went scoreless until the 2:11 mark, a 7:39 scoreless stretch. During that time, the Johnnies managed just three points. As the defensive intensity increased, neither team was able to get away any uncontested shots. But when Coatta finally made two free throws to break the scoring slump, the Gusties still held a 46-42 lead.

St. John’s was able to foul the Gusties in the last two minutes; the Gusties made 6 of 8 from the line, so the Johnnies were unable to narrow the four-point margin. Steve McDermott (Jr., North St. Paul) iced the game with fourteen seconds left, as he made good on both ends of a one-and-one. St. John’s tried a desperation three-point shot in the final seconds but came up empty.

Warner Palestra was filled with a standing room only crowd which included a large and enthusiastic Gustavus contingent. The Gusties never let the Johnnies make a run, which for the most part prevented the Johnnies’ “sixth man” in the stands to become a real factor.

Gustavus shot 42 percent from the field while St. John’s shot a mere 26 percent. Brocker and Jurek added nine points each for the Gusties.

The Gusties, who are now 15-11 overall, have won nine of their last thirteen games and six of their last eight.

What Happened Next?

March 6-7, 1987

The Gustavus Adolphus College men’s basketball team traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska last Friday and Saturday to compete in the NCAA Division III West Regional playoffs. The Gusties advanced to the championship game, but were unable to overcome the Wartburg Knights, losing 74-72.


One Comment

  1. Marilyn Christensen says:

    Great memories!