Men’s Basketball let one last close game slip away to end their season on Saturday. The Gusties dropped the contest to Carleton 63-60. The 5-20 Gusties (5-15 MIAC) lost a total of 7 games by 5 or less points in their 2016-2017 campaign.
The most notable close loss came against the eventual MIAC Champion Tommies on Feb. 1. Trading leads throughout the first half, the Gusties ended the first half trailing the Tommies 30-36.
In the second half the Tommies increased their lead to 43-32 coming up on the 15 minute mark, but the Gusties went on an impressive 13-3 run in the next seven minutes, cutting St. Thomas’ lead to only one.
The Tommies held the lead until a layup by Junior Jason Faul tied the game at 53 with a little over three minutes left to play.
The two teams traded shots and brought the score to 57-57 with 29 seconds left. The Tommies had the ball and capitalized on the last possession, winning on a heartbreaking buzzer beater.
The Song was much the same against Carleton on Saturday.
The Gusties trailed 21-15 to start the game but went on a 15-3 run in five minutes to take a 30-24 lead at the 5:55 mark in the first half.
Carleton fought back to make up the defecit, and the Gusties took a 38-37 lead into the locker room.
Gustavus and Carleton both shot well in the first half, the Gusties hit on 57.7 percent of their shots (15-26) and the Knights connected on 56 percent (14-25).
“To hear their questions and things they didn’t do as freshman, and then to see them step up into leadership roles, it was like watching kids grow up in front of you and I’m very proud to be their coach.” — Head Coach Mark Hanson
The Knights tied the game six times, but the Gusties didn’t trail until the 2:09 mark in the second, when the Knights were able to connect on two free throws for a 61-60 lead. The Knights found the basket for a 63-60 lead on their next possession, and the Gusties missed on their next four shots to end the game, and their season.
Senior Peter Kruize left it all on the court with a team-high 22 points. Saint Peter native Kruize finished his career with a 314 point season and 887 total points in the black and gold.
Sophomore Riley Sharobono added 13 points to his team-high 363 points. Junior Kelsey Thomas left the court with a career-high 13 rebounds.
Senior Captain Alec Koster contributed 149 points on the season, and Senior Benjamin Lies tallied 113. Senior Captain Coleman Sweeney battled injury throughout his career, but provided crucial leadership and guidance to the younger players this season.
“It was fun to watch them grow up,” Head Coach Mark Hanson said. “To hear their questions and the things they didn’t do as freshman, and then to see them step up into leadership roles, it’s like watching kids grow up in front of you and I’m very proud to be their coach.”
The seniors will definitely be missed, but the Gusties got the chance to develop a slew of young players this season, and should be optimistic about next year. Look to players like Sharbono, Faul, Thomas and Sophomore Spencer Tollefson to step up.