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Oles hold off Gusties, to meet UST for title on Sunday

Mike Ludwig
February 28, 2014

NORTHFIELD, Minn. - Justin Pahl and Sterling Nielsen had 15 points each as St. Olaf held off Gustavus 66-53 in the semifinal round of the MIAC men's basketball playoffs on Friday night at Skoglund Center.

Gustavus was led by Jordan Dick's 13 points and 12 from Peter Kruize off the bench. Connor Gunderson added 12 points and eight rebounds for St. Olaf, which had only eight turnovers in the victory. Gustavus had 15.

The Oles held a 24-12 lead with 4:13 left in the first half, but Gustavus scored the final eight in the frame to make it a four-point game at the break. Gustavus took a brief lead, at 38-36 with 12:42 left, but St. Olaf (21-5) then went on a 12-0 run to take a 48-38 lead with 9:48 left. The rally was sparked by back-to-back three-pointers by Nathan Kuck and Pahl.

The win gave St. Olaf a school record for victories (21) and its first berth in the MIAC title game. The Oles will meet top-seeded St. Thomas in the championship game on Sunday in St. Paul at 2 p.m. UST swept the season series, 62-61 in St. Paul in January and 55-51 on Feb. 12 in Northfield.

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