Men’s Basketball Claims Thrilling 61-60 Win Over Saint Mary’s

Posted on February 24th, 2021 by

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SAINT PETER, Minn. – In a tightly-contested game Wednesday night, the Gustavus men’s basketball team erased a late deficit and played strong defense to hold on for a 61-60 victory over Saint Mary’s. The Gusties improve to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in the MIAC, while snapping the Cardinals’ (5-2 overall, 2-1 MIAC) five-game winning streak.

“It feels good to get what we deserve,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. “It could have gone either way, obviously, but when you think about what that whole group has gone through, to beat a legit 5-1 team is well deserved. Especially since we’ve had only two practices before every game, so it’s good to see them get something for all that effort and not just the effort but the angst and pain that comes from starting and stopping. I’ve said to them before, if that’s the worst thing that happens to them in life then they are going to be ok. To have this good feeling is fabulous.”

Gustavus trailed for a majority of the second half but kept the deficit within five points. With just under five minutes to play, Saint Mary’s had an open look at a breakaway layup, but a missed dunk resulted in an open three on the other end by Nolan Malo (Jr., Owatonna) to cut the Cardinal lead to one at 58-57. Saint Mary’s scored on the ensuing possession, followed by Logan Rezac (Sr., Andover) making a layup with 4:03 left in the game to make it a one-point game once again, and neither team was able to find the bottom of the net for the next two-plus minutes.

With 1:27 left in the game, Rezac found Malo on the baseline for an open jumper and the Gusties took a 61-60 lead. Malo continued to make an impact on the ensuing Cardinals possession with a blocked shot. The Cardinals had a chance for a last-second game-winning shot, but were unable to get the shot off in time and the Gusties held on for the victory.

“What’s interesting is we were writing up plays [at the end of the game] we haven’t run yet in practice because we haven’t had enough practice to go over those things,” Hanson said. “You don’t like putting something in front of them for the first time, but some of it becomes common sense and take what they give you.”

Gustavus played strong defensively, especially in the first half by holding the Cardinals to eight points in the first 13 minutes for their largest lead at 22-8. SMU climbed back into the game by finishing the half on a 20-10 run and trailed 32-28 at the break.

Gustavus increased its lead to six (39-33) in the first three minutes of the second before the Cardinals went on a 10-2 run over the next four-plus minutes to gain a lead they would hold until the 7:14 mark. Saint Mary’s jumped back in front until Malo’s baseline jumper with 1:27 on the clock.

Malo finished the game with a double-double, scoring 16 points and hauling in 13 rebounds. He also blocked three shots. Rezac also finished with double figures, scoring 10 points, while adding five rebounds and four assists.

The Gusties shot 46.4 percent from the floor and went 7-for-17 from three-point range. Saint Mary’s was held to 36.9 percent shooting and was out-rebounded 38-32.

Gustavus next plays at Concordia at 2 p.m. Saturday.

 


One Comment

  1. Gregg Aamot says:

    That was a nice W and a fun game to watch!

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