NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Five players finished in double figures for the Carleton College men’s basketball team—including double-doubles by both Taylor Hanson (Sr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) and John Eckert (So./North Judson, Ind./North Judson)—but it was not enough as the Knights dropped their season opener, 77-73, to visiting Wartburg College,
Hanson’s third-career double-double included 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Carleton big man also chipped in a game-high six assists. Eckert tallied 11 points and 11 boards for his second career double-double. Led by those two stat lines, Carleton owned a 35-22 advantage on the glass.
While Carleton (0-1) was the last NCAA Division III men’s team to open its season, Wartburg (2-2) was playing its fourth game of the campaign.
“Wartburg is a worthy opponent,” said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland. “We are young, and we looked like it at times tonight. We strive for consistency and are looking forward to the opportunity to get better as the season progresses.”
The other three starters for Carleton also reached double figures. Mitchell Biewen (Fy./Plymouth, Minn./Armstrong), Shane McSparron (Jr./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview), and Peter Bakker-Arkema (Fy./Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) finished with 13, 11, and 10 points respectively.
Eddie Diemer paced Wartburg with 20 points, and Thomas Perkins chipped in 13.
After a back-and-forth opening section of the contest, Wartburg took the lead for good on a Nick Webber jumper with 10:39 left in the first half. The visitors carried a nine-point advantage into halftime after shooting 71 percent in the first half, including 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.
The Carleton defense stiffened up in the second half, holding Wartburg to just 41 percent from the field. That allowed the home team to close to within 56-52 on a layup by Tianen Chen (Fy./Germantown Hills, Ill./Metamora Township) with 14:20 remaining in the contest. Wartburg responded with a 9-1 spurt over the next five minutes to build its largest lead of the contest at 65-53.
Trailing by 11 with a minute remaining, the Knights got three pointers from rookies Bakker-Arkema and Bieiwen plus a jumper by Hanson, but the rally ran out of time.
Next up for Carleton is its longest road trip of the season as the squad travels to Colorado Springs, Colo., over Thanksgiving weekend for the ACM Invitational. First up is a contest against tournament host Colorado College on Friday, Nov. 29 followed by a matchup against No. 16 Whitworth University on Saturday, Nov. 30. Links to live video of both games can be found on Knights Online.