Hot Shooting Men’s Hoops Wins 97-88 at Bethel

Posted on January 4th, 2023 by

BOX SCORE

ARDEN HILLS, Minn. – The Gustavus men’s basketball team shot 59 percent from the field Wednesday night in a fast-paced 97-88 win at Bethel. Spencer Swanson (So., Waconia) scored a career-high 33 points for his second 30-point game of the season as the Gusties improved to 5-7 overall and 5-2 in the MIAC. The Royals dropped to 3-9 overall and 1-6 in the league.

“Tonight was a real battle of runs and high execution by both teams on offense,” Head Coach Justin DeGrood said. “We feel fortunate to have buckled down and made the last run to close out the game. Credit to our men for earning stops and knocking down some foul shots to finish it off.”

With the score tied at 13 nearly seven minutes in, Swanson made a turnaround jumper to give the Gusties a lead they did not relinquish the rest of the game. Gustavus slowly added to its lead the rest of the first half and gained its largest advantage at 50-38 on a three-pointer from Jordan Schommer (Sr., Merrifield) with 1:16 on the clock and the Gusties carried a 50-40 lead into the locker room after shooting 64 percent from the floor.

Bethel cut the lead all the way down to one point three different times in the first seven minutes of the second half, but the Gusties responded with a 15-6 run for a 78-69 lead a the 6:27 mark. The Royals fought back again with seven straight points, but the visitors countered with nine consecutive points on shots from Adam Biewen (Jr., Golden Valley), Swanson, and a Brady Kienitz (So., Raymond) trey. Bethel tried to make a comeback, but the Gusties had an answer nearly every trip down the court as Swanson sealed the game at the free throw line, going 6-for-6 in the final 48 seconds.

Swanson shot 12-of-21 from the floor and 8-for-8 from the charity stripe with a team-high seven rebounds in over 37 minutes of play. Evan Wieker (Jr., St. Michael) added 17 points, six boards, and four assists, while Kienitz scored 13 points with 12 from beyond the arc. Dealing with foul trouble early, Wyatt Olson (So., Saint Peter) played 16 minutes off the bench with nine points, a team-high six assists, and four rebounds.

“I thought our defense tonight played with good toughness and rotated with some urgency but it was finishing possessions that got us in trouble,” DeGrood said. “I know our guys are looking to build on that communication piece of defending. Offensively, our guys played with the pace we need. It takes a lot of effort to do that and I thought we were really sound in it all game. Part of what helped us be efficient was our spacing and selfless sharing. It was fun to watch.”

Gustavus out-rebounded the Royals 32-27 and shot 10-for-20 from beyond the arc. The Gusties also limited the turnovers with seven while forcing 13 takeaways.

The Gusties return home Saturday for a 1 p.m. MIAC matchup against Carleton.

 

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