Northfield, Minn. – Tommy Drake (So./Eden Prairie, Minn.) capped a career-high 32-point performance by canning 15-foot baseline jumper with three seconds left as host Carleton College scored the final 10 points to rally past Bethel University, 83-82.
Drake took the pass on the left wing, drove baseline and pulled from 15 feet, burying the jumper with two defenders hanging on him to give the Knights their first lead of the game. Bethel had a chance at the horn, but Tyson Bjorklund’s half-court heave just rimmed out.
The Knights (10-5, 7-3 MIAC) won for the seventh consecutive time in MIAC play, their second-longest MIAC winning streak in program history. Jake Phillips (Jr./Brainerd, Minn.) added 17 points, six assists and four rebounds and Zach Johnson (Fy./Eastview, Minn.) added 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Dan Forkrud (Sr./Rosemount, Minn.) chipped in with 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Carleton.
Charles Meadowcroft paced the Royals (9-6, 4-6 MIAC) with 30 points and eight rebounds. Matt Fredrickson added 19 points and five assists for Bethel and Trent Perry added 12 points and four assists.
The Royals led by 11 with less than five minutes left on a Meadowcroft jumper and still had a nine-point margin with three minutes left. Phillips drained his fifth 3-pointer of the game and Drake come up with a steal on the other end, leading to his own three-pointer to pull the Knights within three with less than two minutes left.
Mike Kootsikas (Jr./Rosemount, Minn.) came up with a huge steal on the other end, stripping Isaac Hinrichs in the post and Drake’s cutting lay-up with a minute left made it a one-point margin. Bethel had two chances to extend the lead when Meadowcroft rebounded his own miss, but Perry missed the front end of the one-and-one, setting up Drake’s heroics.
The first half was all Royals until late. Meadowcroft drained two triples and a long two-point bucket as the Royals raced to a quick 22-9 lead, with Meadowcroft scoring 13 of BU's first 22 points. Carleton used a 16-7 spurt to get back into the game, keyed by five straight Kootsikas points on a three and steal and lay-up an capped by five straight points by Johnson. The Royals worked the margin back to 10, but Carleton zipped off the final seven of the half, five by Drake, to trail 43-40 at the break.
The Royals looked to take control out of the lockerroom, as Perry and Bjorklund nailed triples and the Royal lead ballooned back to 12 on back-to-back three-pointers from Fredrickson and Meadowcroft. Carleton rattled off 10 unanswered points, five by Johnson, and finally tied the game at 61-61 midway through the half.
Bethel, though, used a 13-2 spurt to break from a 65-all game and lead 78-67 with six minutes left as Meadowcroft scored twice on the break, Fredrickson had a rare four-point play and Meadowcroft drained a three, seemingly putting the Royals in front for good.
Both teams shot the ball well, with Carleton connecting on 53 percent to an even 50-percent clip for Bethel. BU held a 32-30 rebound edge, including 12 offensive rebounds that lead to a 16-7 spread in second-chance points for the Royals.
Carleton, which is now tied for second with the first half of the MIAC schedule complete, returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 21, hosting league-leading St. Thomas at 3:15 p.m. The Royals host Macalester on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. as well.