By Denny Weller
Special to The Free Press
ST. PETER — A sterling defensive effort and a career-high 18-point scoring outburst from junior forward Brian Jabobs enabled the Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team to get back on track with a 57-39 win over Carleton in an MIAC men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon at Lund Center.
Jacobs, a 6-foot-7 Lake-Crystal-Wellcome Memorial product, fired in 7 of 11 field-goal attempts and 2 of 4 from 3-point range in helping the Golden Gusties improve to 9-4, 6-2 in the MIAC. It was only Gustavus’ second victory in its past five games after starting the season 7-1.
“This is the fourth or fifth time in a row we’ve kind of struggled out of the gate,” Gusties’ coach Mark Hanson said. “But we kept at it and as the game went on we did a better job of getting the ball inside and creating some opportunities that way. Brian was wonderful and it was nice to see him get on a roll like that.
“This is an unselfish group, and they don’t really care who scores so that gives us the opportunity to make that extra pass. I also thought we defended pretty well and were able to take some things away from them. They create a lot of easy baskets because they run things so well, but we defended their inside game and that was important.”
Jacobs netted nine points over the opening 20 minutes as the Gusties led 28-14 at the break. Chris Narum and Alex Koster each dropped through a 3-pointer in the surge while 6-7 junior post Peter Kruize converted two baskets and a foul shot. Gustavus shot 46.2 percent from the field in the half while the Knights (5-6, 3-3) made just 23.8 percent of their attempts.
“We really wanted to pound it inside and make sure we got some inside-outside looks,” Jacobs said. “My teammates set some really good screens, and I knew I’d have some opportune shots if I was using those screens well. I just seemed to get in a rythmn right away.
“We have multiple threats so we feel we have a lot of guys who can score on any given night. We’re unselfish and appreciate moving the ball around. Defensively, we clogged the lane up really well and were able to beat them on the boards as well.”
Jacobs’ nine-point flurry — 8-footer off the glass, two foul shots, top-of-the-key 3-pointer and an 18-footer off the left wing — helped the Gusties extend their margin to 41-17 four minutes into the second half. Kruize then showed some versatility in knocking down three medium-range jumpers off the glass before a pair of triples from sophomore guard Chad Poppen capped the onslaught.
“Our goal was to come out with a lot of energy and be confident to get the first half going,” said Kruize, who ended up with 11 points and three rebounds. “We’ve been sloppy lately at the start with our turnovers, shooting and failed defensive efforts. ... We just wanted to get back into a good grind, and we did that today.”
Gustavus enjoyed a 33-24 rebounding edge with Brody Ziegler grabbing seven and Martin Feddersen pulling down six. The Gusties finished 24 of 50 from the field for 48 percent compared to Carleton’s 15 of 45 for 33.3 percent.
Gustavus travels to St. Thomas onWednesday.