NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- Scott Theisen (Jr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) matched his career high with 23 points, including a career-best 5 three-pointers, to lead the Carleton College men’s basketball team to its second straight victory, this one a 73-64 triumph over visiting Macalester College. The Knights drained a season-high 12 three-pointers on the evening, their highest total since draining 13 triples against Macalester on Jan. 17, 2011.
Theisen added five assists and five rebounds but got plenty of help from his teammates. Caleb Rosenow (Sr./Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) contributed 15 points and seven boards, and Tom Sawatzke (Jr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) threw in 16 points and three steals to help Carleton avenge its loss to the Scots a month ago.
In addition to strong performances from its big three, Carleton (8-12, 5-10 MIAC) received key contributions from both Shane McSparron (Fy./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) and Michael Grinnell (Sr./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview). Both players dished out a career-best six assists, helping the Knights to 23 total, their highest total since Jan. 9, 2008 vs. Hamline.
Grinnell also pulled down a season-best seven rebounds and collected a pair of steals. McSparron added eight points and two blocks to highlight another great defensive effort by the rookie. McSparron once again found himself matched up against the opponent’s leading offensive threat.
“We’ve got no right to put a 17-year-old on these 22-year-olds” said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland, “but he’s the best we’ve got...and he appreciates the challenge.”
On the offensive side of the ball it was Theisen who pushed the Knights forward. His 23 points featured 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc, which can be attributed to Macalester’s (1-19, 1-14 MIAC) zone defense.
“Not many teams in the MIAC play zone,” noted Theisen, “so when it does happen, you have to take advantage.” And take advantage the Knights did, especially in the second period. However, it was not a cakewalk for Carleton on offense, especially during the first half.
Once again, the first twenty was an offensive struggle for the Knights as Carleton managed only 33-percent shooting from the field, a mark which paled in comparison to the Scots 48-percent clip.
After holding a 6-4 lead with 16:42 to play in the first period, the Knights’ offensive struggles began to show. Macalester held Carleton scoreless over the next five minutes as part of a 9-0 run on its way to a 13-6 lead. The stretch ended at the 11:20 mark when Theisen hit one of his four first-half three pointers, but unfortunately that triple did not provide Carleton with any lasting momentum. The rest of the stanza saw the teams trade buckets, with Carleton never pulling closer than three and Macalester never opening up more than an eight-point advantage. The Scots eventually carried a 33-26 lead into the break.
The second half was a different story for the Knights, who shot 55 percent after the break. In fact, Carleton went on an extended 20-3 run to not only take its first lead since early in the first half, but establish a 49-40 lead with 11:10 left in the game. This spurt, which featured eight points from Sawatzke and six from McSparron, lasted over seven minutes and seemed to put the Knights in control.
However, Macalester fought its way back on a 9-0 run of its own, knotting the score at 49-49 with 8:47 still to play. Following consecutive layups by Sam Marshall, who finished with a team-high 21 points, the Scots re-gained the lead and held a 58-55 advantage with just 4:10 to play.
Carleton connected from long range on its next four trips down the floor, completely changing the complexion of the contest. Sawatzke knocked down consecutive step-back three-pointers, followed by a Danny Geiger (So./New Prague, Minn./New Prague) triple and another Theisen trifecta with 1:41 remaining.
Theisen added a pair of free throws to make it a nine-point lead, and then came the dagger.
After breaking the press, Rosenow took a pass from McSparron and threw down a thunderous one-handed slam to give the Knights a double-digit lead. All told, it was a game-ending 18-6 Carleton run, including a garbage-time three from the Scots as time expired.
In addition to Marshall's third 20-plus point game of the year, the Scots got 16 points from Pierce Peters and 13 off the bench from Bert Yaffe.
Carleton puts its win streak on the line when Concordia College visits for a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 4. Knights online will carry live video of both games with the men’s contest projected to tipoff at 3 p.m.