WINONA, Minn. – All good things must come to an end.
Despite Tom Sawatzke’s (Jr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) fourth career 20-plus point game, Caleb Rosenow’s (Sr./Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) fourth career double-double, and a strong all-around game from Scott Theisen (Jr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park), the Carleton College men’s basketball team saw its run of 23 consecutive victories over Saint Mary’s University finally come to a close.
The Knights (6-9, 3-7 MIAC) came out on the wrong end of a 64-60 decision and saw their current losing streak reach seven games, the program’s longest since dropping 12 straight from Dec. 3, 1984-Jan. 26, 1985. Coincidentally, the first and last games of that slide were both losses to Saint Mary’s.
Sawatzke lit up the scoreboard for 22 points as he matched his career-best with 5 three-pointers. Rosenow continues to do yeoman’s work on the interior, tallying 17 points and 11 rebounds. And Theisen filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
“We were a bit sloppy at times in the first half but played better offensively in the second half,” said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland. “We were in good spots defensively, but Saint Mary’s knocked down some big shots.”
Both teams shot at least 50 percent in the first half, and Sawatzke hit a mid-range jumper two seconds before halftime to send the Knights to the locker room trailing by only four, 33-29.
Saint Mary’s (3-12, 3-7 MIAC) scored the first four points of the second half and re-built an eight-point advantage, tied for the largest of the game.
Carleton clawed its way back thanks to an 8-0 spurt midway through the period, including four points on one trip down the floor. Theisen came up with a steal and found Shane McSparron (Fy./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) for a layup and the foul. Rosenow’s putback of the missed free throw capped the run that gave Carleton a 49-46 lead with 8:20 on the clock.
Sawatzke continued to provide crucial offense for Carleton. A big-time three pointer at the 6:51 mark pushed the Knights’ lead up to four, and with the game later tied at the five-minute mark, he knocked down a jumpshot off of a Michael Grinnell (Sr./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) assist to give the Knights another two-point lead. However, this was the last time Carleton would play from in front.
After some very physical play from the Cardinals led to a Knights turnover, Saint Mary’s took advantage. Two consecutive shots by the Cardinals gave them a 59-57 lead with only 2:25 left. Then, after a missed opportunity for the Knights on the offensive end, Saint Mary’s Evan Pederson knocked down a prayer with the shot clock winding down to push the Cardinals’ lead to four points with just under a minute to play.
Although Pederson’s shot was certainly clutch, it was the game-high 28 points by Michael Burfeind that allowed Saint Mary’s to find themselves ahead in the game.
But the Knights did not go down quietly. Following one Saint Mary’s free-throw, Sawatzke nailed a deep three-ball with 17.7 seconds to play, cutting the Cardinals’ advantage to 62-60. However, that three pointer was the last basket that the Knights would score. Saint Mary’s tacked on a broken floor layup for the evening’s final points.
Carleton will host rival St. Olaf College on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 3:00 p.m. Both ends of the women’s - men’s doubleheader can be heard on KDHL 920AM with live video available on Knights Online.