COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- Despite another double-double from senior Caleb Rosenow (Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing), who contributed 17 points and 10 boards, and a strong second half by Tom Sawatzke (Jr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello), who tallied 16 of his 19 points in the final frame, the Carleton College men’s basketball teams’ second-half comeback fell just a bit short. After a rough opening half, Carleton made a game of it against Saint John’s University, only to fall by a final score of 57-56.
It truly was a tale of two halves for the Knights (6-12, 3-10 MIAC) against the Johnnies (11-7, 7-6 MIAC). After managing only 16 points on 25 percent shooting over the opening period, Carleton shot 68 percent in the second half and put up 40 points on its way to a nearly phenomenal comeback. However, the hole that the Knights dug in the first half proved to be just a little bit too deep.
Simply put, the first half was not pretty for the Knights. Carleton did not hit its first field goal until the 12:05 mark when Scott Theisen (Jr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park), who added 10 points on the afternoon, found his way into the lane for a layup. To make matters worse, the Knight’s second strike from the field did not come for another seven minutes. Over the entire opening twenty, Carleton hit only 4-of-16 attempts and committed eight turnovers on its way to a 33-16 halftime deficit.
The second half, almost from the get-go, was a completely different story. Carleton opened the stanza with a 6-0 run, and then, with 12:42 left to play, finally pulled within single digits at 41-33 after a strong Rosenow layup. Over the first eight minutes of the half, the Knights were 8-of-11 from the field.
After chipping away at the Johnnies’ lead over the next eight minutes, Carleton closed to within 53-52 on a Sawatzke layup with 4:43 remaining. Then, on the Knights’ next possession, Sawatzke did it again. His mid-range jumper with 3:21 left on the clock gave Carleton a 54-53 lead, their first since the 17:35 mark of the first half.
Momentum certainly seemed to be on the Knights’ side, but two straight jumpshots from Saint John’s, including one from guard Aaron Barmore, who led his squad with 16 total points, put the Johnnies up 57-54 with only 1:28 remaining. However, Carleton’s sophomore guard Danny Geiger (New Prague, Minn./New Prague) stepped up with only 55 seconds left in the game when his put-back layup after a strong offensive rebound cut the Johnnies lead to 57-56.
On the ensuing Saint John’s possession, Carleton came up with a crucial defensive stop, giving itself 17 seconds to set up a chance for a game-winning shot. Unfortunately, Carleton was unable to get a good look at the basket. After passing the ball around the wing and running down the clock, Carleton was forced to settle for a deep Sawatzke three-point attempt, which did not connect.
Carleton looks to snap its losing skid at home on Monday, Jan. 30 against Bethel University. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m., and live video will be featured on Knights Online.