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ISSUE 118 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/3/2004

Basketball shoots high

By Anna Harrison
Staff Writer
and Julia Midthun
Staff Writer

Friday, December 3, 2004

The St. Olaf men’s basketball team is off to its strongest start in nine years, with a 3-0 record (the Oles opened the 1995-1996 season with a 5-0 record). In their first road game of the season on Monday, the Oles dominated both ends of the floor en route to a 79-53 victory over Martin Luther College.

Jon Butala ’07 and Andy Grimsrud ’05 were St. Olaf’s top scorers, with 13 and 12 points respectively. Overall, the team shot 52.8 percent while holding Martin Luther to 32.1 percent.

The Oles started the game off strong, scoring 50 points in the first half. They wound down in the second half, but clinched the win easily with 29 more points.

Saturday’s game against Crown College followed a different pattern. Despite scoring 10 straight points to start the game, the Oles held a mere 30-29 lead at the half. But they pulled away in the second half, doubling the score of their opponent and securing the 22-point victory.

Jon Bain ’07 led the team with 14 points, while Ted Gonsior ’05 and Mark Bergstrom ’07 each added 10 to the final score of 72-50. Butala nabbed eight rebounds and Bain garnered seven.

The Ole offense, which struggled at times a year ago, has been a pleasant surprise so far in the young season. Oles are putting up some strong numbers against their opponents. St. Olaf is averaging 73 points per game while holding their opponents to just 59 a contest. Four Oles have scoring averages in double digits, led by Grimsrud (13.5), Bain (12.5), Butala (11) and Pierce (10).

The St. Olaf women’s basketball team did not fare quite as well as the men in their first two season-opening contests, but reason for optimism remains. The women were defeated by Central College Nov. 23 59-46 in Pella, Iowa, but topped Augsburg 65-58 in their conference opener Tuesday in Skoglund.

Against Central, the Oles quickly fell behind 14-0 but closed the gap to a single point early in the second half with a 12-0 run of their own. Unfortunately, that was as close as the team would get, as the Dutch pulled away in the second half for a comfortable victory.

Leading St. Olaf in scoring was Molly Simon ‘05 with 15 points. Kristy Larson ‘05 also had nine rebounds in the contest.

The Oles would bounce back one week later against the Auggies in their first matchup of the MIAC season. Christina Sampson ‘07 played a key role in the seven-point victory, collecting a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Ole attack.

Simon had a big game as well with 13 points, four assists and five rebounds.

Although several individuals performed well, Tuesday’s game was won at the free throw line. St. Olaf converted 18 of 23 (78.3 percent) from the stripe while the Auggies made just 55.6 percent of their free throws.

The Ole men hope to build upon their unbeaten streak Saturday afternoon in Collegeville when the take on St. John’s at 3 p.m. The women also play in nearby St. Joseph Saturday afternoon against St. Ben’s.

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