Men’s Hoops Wins in OT Over Bethel, Swanson Scores 38

Posted on January 25th, 2023 by


SAINT PETER, Minn. – After six second half lead changes Wednesday night the Gustavus men’s basketball team came out on the winning end of a 96-92 overtime decision against Bethel, improving to 8-10 overall and 8-5 in the MIAC.

Spencer Swanson (So., Waconia) got off to a pedestrian start by his standards in the first half, scoring seven points in the opening 20 minutes, but things quickly changed the rest of the way. Swanson added 18 points in the second half and then tallied 13 of the team’s 17 overtime points for a career-high 38 points. Swanson shot 15-for-21 from the field while adding eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals. His 38 points are the most by a Gustie since Gary Cooper scored 39 at Concordia in 2016. Swanson also becomes just the fourth Gustie in program history to score at least 38 points in a game.

The first half featured large momentum swings by both teams with the Royals leading by as much as six early in the game and then the Gusties gaining a 10-point advantage with 2:30 left in the half. Jordan Schommer (Sr., Merrifield) was the hot hand in the opening frame, scoring 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting, guiding the Gusties to a 39-33 lead at the break.

Bethel took the momentum back in the second half, leading by as much as five points three different times until Wyatt Olson (So., Saint Peter) took control with three straight buckets for a 71-70 lead with 3:45 on the clock. Swanson made a layup with 59 seconds remaining for a 79-76 lead, but that was the final Gustie basket in regulation and the Royals went 3-of-4 from the free throw line in the final minute to force overtime.

Swanson took control of the game in overtime, making 4-of-5 shots from the floor and closed it out at the charity stripe, making 5-of-6 from the line.

“Tonight was truly a game where the group had to dig deep,” Head Coach Justin DeGrood said. “I give a lot of credit to Bethel as they did a number of things to prevent us from playing our best basketball. But as I told our guys that’s when it is most important to continue to find ways to keep your nose in the fight. We weren’t very sharp on either end but enough plays were made to earn a favorable outcome.

“Defensively I was really pleased with our first half. It was our defensive effort that allowed us to have the couple possession lead. Offensively we had a number of guys step up throughout the night which was fun to see. What I especially enjoy about those situations is how quick our guys are to find the hot hand and help them get into favorable positions. That’s selfless team play that I’m proud of.”

The Gusties shot 50 percent for the game, but struggled at the free throw line, making just 12-of-22. The Gusties won the rebound battle 39-35 and forced 16 Royal turnovers.

Not be overshadowed by Swanson’s monster game, Schommer finished with a career-high 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting and six rebounds. Olson was next with 14 points off the bench.

Gustavus next travels to Augsburg on Saturday afternoon.


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