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Second-Half Surge Propels No. 7 St. Thomas Past Knights

January 4, 2014 at 6:44 pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Carleton College men’s basketball team gave No. 7 University of St. Thomas all it could handle over the first half, but the short-handed Knights could not keep pace in the second half as the Tommies pulled away for an 82-52 victory.

Carleton (4-5, 2-2 MIAC) trailed the conference leaders by just four points at intermission, but St. Thomas (7-2, 4-0 MIAC) opened the second half with a 22-6 run and the outcome was no longer in doubt.

The Knights, who broke the program record for field-goal shooting in each of their last two contests—Dec. 11 at Bethel (.625) and Dec. 14 versus Crown (.636)—opened today’s game on pace to shatter the mark once again.

Playing without two starters due to injuries—point guard Peter Bakker-Arkema (Fy./Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) and leading scorer Taylor Hanson (Sr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy)—Carleton made 7-of its first-10 shots and built an 18-13 advantage midway through the first half.

Suddenly the Carleton shooting effort cooled to reflect the outside temperatures as the Knights went eight minutes without a basket. A strong defensive effort and a 7-2 spurt to end the opening period brought Carleton within 31-27 at the break.

St. Thomas scored the first five baskets of the second half and slowly pulled away. The Tommies scored 34 points off 17 Carleton turnovers and pulled down 22 offensive rebounds leading to a 22-5 advantage in second-chance points.

Tianen Chen (Fy./Germantown Hills, Ill./Metamora Township), starting in place of  Hanson, scored a game-high 19 points. John Eckert (So./North Judson, Ind./North Judson) pulled down 11 rebounds.

Carleton is scheduled to play a pair of home games early next week. The Knights host Saint Mary’s University at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 6 followed by a women’s-men’s doubleheader versus Concordia College on Tuesday, Jan. 7. The women’s game begins at 5:45 p.m. with the men slated for 7:45 p.m. Live video of all home games this season will be available on Knights Online.