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ISSUE 119 VOL 9 PUBLISHED 11/18/2005

Winter Preview, Men's Basketball: Team seeks fresh start

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor
and Ryan Maus
Staff Writer

Friday, November 18, 2005

The St. Olaf men'’s basketball team looks to a solid and savvy trio of juniors to lead them after a tough 7-18 campaign last season. The Oles lost four seniors and two starters to graduation. However, the team has a core group of sophomores and first years that will have to step up and provide crucial minutes if the Oles are to improve upon their 11th-place MIAC finish a year ago.

The two juniors most likely to make an impact this season are Jon Bain '06 and Jon Butala '06. Butala was an All-MIAC Honorable Mention selection a year ago. Over the course of his Ole career, he has averaged 10.9 points per game and beyond the arc, has averaged a noteworthy 38.9 percent.

Bain had a breakout sophomore season. The 6-5 forward averaged 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. Bain also specialized in taking the ball strong to the basket and in turn getting to the free throw line. He shot 127 free throws, 77 more than any of his teammates.

Despite their success last season, both Bain and Butala spent time on the bench due to illness and injury. The Oles look to have both players healthy for the entire 2005-2006 campaign.

The third Ole to round out the trio is Mark Bergstrom ‘'07, who will likely be a crucial factor if the Oles are to make a run this season. Bergstrom proved himself as a scoring threat last season, averaging 6.2 points per game despite playing just 15.1 minutes per contest.

Head coach Dan Kosmoski returns for his 12th season at the helm for the Oles, and he knows the importance of having experienced players who are able to bring leadership to the floor day in and day out.

“"There is an expectation for the veterans to continue to improve,”" Kosmoski said. "“They are going to have to provide leadership in scoring and in all aspects of the game."”

The Ole men open their season on Nov. 21 at Luther. Their MIAC opener is Nov. 30 at Augsburg.

Also contributing to this preview were Matt Stortz and Peter Gloviczki. Special thanks to Mike Ludwig and the St. Olaf Sports Information Department.

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