With just three regular season game under their belt, the Gustavus Men’s basketball team finds themselves hungry for more competition. The team opened their regular season by traveling to Iowa last week to take on Buena Vista University. The Gusties suffered a defeat by the score of 81-60.
“We weren’t real pleased with our output. We played a bit anxious at times which isn’t surprising given our inexperience. Hopefully we will learn from that and have a better outing on Saturday at Simpson,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. The players’ comments mirrored those of Coach Hanson.
“We were a little over anxious offensively, leading to us shooting a much lower percentage than we’re capable of. We also have some little things we still need to work on defensively so that we can get to the level we want to be at,” Sophomore Riley Sharbono said.
After graduating six players last year, the Gusties worked hard in the offseason to prepare for this season. The team had a competitive and successful preseason full of hard work as well. The team feels as if their work in both the offseason and preseason was beneficial.
“The preseason has gone well for us. We’ve been getting after it for about five weeks in practice in preparation for the regular season. We have a lot of guys that put in a lot of work in the offseason, and it has showed in our practices leading up to the regular season. After graduating six seniors last year, we have a lot of new faces on varsity and the preseason allowed us to build a strong chemistry,” Sharbono said. In the past month, the Gusties partook in two preseason scrimmages against Wartburg College and Central College.
“I think we have had a competitive preseason and, while disappointed in our first outing on Friday, I like how the team has worked together and look forward to further improvement,” Coach Hanson said.
Even though Coach Hanson has been pleased with how the team has looked so far this season, he believes that the team still has a good bit of work ahead of them in order to achieve their goals for the season.
“Certainly our goals are to finish high in the MIAC and secure a playoff spot. The rest is wide open,” Coach Hanson said. There is a lot of time between now and the end of the season, so these goals are definitely within reach.
“After graduating six seniors last year, we have a lot of new faces on varsity and the preseason allowed us to build strong chemistry.” — Riley Sharbono
“At the start of any season we have high expectations to compete for the regular season conference championship, as well as win the MIAC tournament and make the national tournament. With the loss of six seniors, we have a lot of work to do, but we believe we can get to the level necessary to achieve these goals,” Sharbono said.
In the second game of the season the Gusties faced another Iowa foe, dropping a contest against Simpson College 90-78 on Saturday, Nov. 26. Senior Peter Kruize led the Black and Gold with a career-high 27 points, shooting 10-of-16 from the floor. He also delivered at the free throw line, shooting 7-of-9. The 11 rebounds he snatched were enough for his second career double-double.
Sophomore Riley Sharbono stepped up for the Gusties with an 18 point performance, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and going 4-for-7 on three-pointers in his team high 35 minutes of play.
At time of print, the Gusties were tipping off with MIAC foe Concordia College. The Gusties will return to action on Dec. 3 against Macalaster in Saint Paul. The men will then play at St. Olaf and Saint Mary’s before returning home to host North Central on Dec. 13.