Northfield, Minn. - It took 12 lead changes and eight ties before the Gustavus men's basketball team finally emerged victorious over Carleton on Wednesday night. In a game that featured no more than a six-point lead for either team, the Gusties converted a layup with :17 seconds to go to take the final lead of the game with a 53-52 advantage. However, things got interesting when a foul on the ensuing possession sent Carleton's Taylor Hanson to the free-throw line with just :02 ticks remaining. Hanson missed both free throws and the Knights were forced to foul. Gustavus went one-for-two from the line and put the lid on the 54-52 victory. With the win, Gustavus improves to 13-10 (11-8 MIAC) while Carleton falls to 14-10 (11-8 MIAC).
In a tightly contested first half, the Gusties were able to open their largest lead of the game at six points on an Isaac Tapp (So., Stewartville, Minn.) three-pointer at the 6:17 mark. Gustavus would end up taking a one-point (28-27) lead into halftime after shooting just 38.7-percent (12-31) from the floor compared to a 46.2-percent (12-26) clip for Carleton in the opening frame.
Taylor Hanson converted a layup on the opening possession of the second half for the Knights to take a 29-28 lead just :07 seconds in. What ensued was a mimic of the game "tug-of-war." Back-and-forth the two teams went, taking their turn holding the lead. After seven lead changes and four ties in the final frame, the Gusties took the lead one final time with :17 seconds remaining.
A Jim Hill (Sr., Edina, Minn.) layup gave the Gustie men a 53-52 lead. However, a Gustavus foul with :02 seconds left sent Carleton's Hanson to the free-throw line for two shots with a chance to win. He missed both chances, however, and the Knights were forced to foul Gustavus' Ben Biewen (Sr., Edina, Minn.). After making the front end of the bonus one-and-one, Biewen missed the second toss, which disallowed any chance Carelton had of putting up another shot before the final buzzer and left the final score at 54-52.
Jordan Dick (Jr., Wabasha, Minn.) led the Gusties in scoring on the night. Dick was the only Gustavus player to score in double-figures with a career-high 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting, which included a 3-for-5 mark from downtown, and also brought down six rebounds. Hill, Tapp, and Biewen all netted nine points while Brody Ziegler (Fr., Mankato, Minn.) came off the bench to provide seven points and nine rebounds.
A trio of Knights scored in double-figures, led by Scott Theisen. Theisen scored 13 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Tom Sawatzke followed Theisen with 12 points and six rebounds. Taylor Hanson was the final Knight in double-figures with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Following the win tonight, Gustavus keeps its playoff hopes alive. With a win over Concordia on Saturday, the Gusties would solidify their place in the MIAC Playoffs. Saturday's match-up is set for a 3:00 p.m. opening tip following the women's game at 1:00 p.m. in Moorhead, Minn.