Arden Hills, Minn. - The Gustavus men's basketball team dropped its second straight game Wednesday night in an 82-62 loss to Bethel at Robertson Center. The Gusties faced a 12-point deficit at halftime and would trail by as many as 27 points in the second half before cutting the margin to 20 for a final score of 82-62. Gustavus falls to 9-8 (7-6 MIAC) on the season while Bethel improves to 11-7 (7-6 MIAC).
After a tightly contested five minutes of play to open the game, the Gusties held a one-point lead with the score 10-9 on a Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) jumper. A Bethel three-pointer answered on the ensuing possession, which swung the score back in the Royals' favor 12-10 at the 14:49 mark. Minutes later, following the fifth tie of the game, the Royals took off on a 7-0 run to jump out to a seven-point lead with 9:39 remaining in the opening frame.
Gustavus countered with a 10-4 run of its own to cut the lead to one point on a three-pointer from Hill with 6:02 to go in the first half and the score 25-24. Bethel returned the favor with another run over the last six minutes of the half. The Royals finished on a 16-5 surge that gave them a 41-29 advantage headed to the break.
Bethel began the second half much like it ended the first. The Royals streaked out to a 19-point lead in the opening three minutes of the final frame to push the score to 52-33. The Gusties chipped away at the lead and worked it down to 14 points with 14:55 to go before Bethel came back with yet another run. This time, it was a 16-3 surge that pushed the Royal lead to 27 points (71-44), which proved to be their largest of the game. Gustavus was able to reduce the lead to under 20 points twice, but only momentarily as the Royals walked away with the 20-point victory.
The Gusties shot just 35.2-percent (19-54) from the floor and 30-percent (6-20) from the three-point line compared to 59.6-percent (33-58) from the field and 53.3-percent (8-15) behind the arc for the Royals. Gustavus also committed 14 turnovers to Bethel's eight.
Jim Hill was the only Gustie to score in double-figures on the night. The senior matched his career-high with 23 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field. Hill cashed in on 3-of-6 from downtown as well as all six of his free throws. He also led the team in rebounding with five boards. Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.) and Brody Ziegler (Fr., Mankato, Minn.) followed Hill with nine points each.
Bethel landed five players in double-figure scoring, led by Taylor Hall. Hall scored 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting and also added 11 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Derek Wolhowe came next in scoring for the Royals with 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the floor. He was followed by JD Robinson with 11 points and Kyle Zimmerman, who chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds. Aden Casey also added 10 points.
The Gusties will next travel to Collegeville on Saturday, Jan. 26th for a meeting with Saint John's. That game scheduled to tip-off at 3:00 p.m.