WINONA, Minn. – For the second consecutive game, the Carleton College men’s basketball team got off to a big lead. This time, however, the Knights needed to make some clutch plays down the stretch to secure a 62-51 road victory over Saint Mary’s University.
“The guys had a solid effort on the road,” said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland. “Saint Mary’s played very determined in the second half and made us work on both ends. We are very pleased to have come away with a double-digit road win as those are hard to come by in our league.”
The victory moves Carleton (9-11, 7-8 MIAC) to within a half-game of Bethel for the sixth spot in the standings and the final playoff berth. There are five games remaining for the Knights in the regular season.
Carleton made 10-of its first-14 shots in racing out to a 22-5 lead with nine minutes remaining in the first half. The Knights shot 61 percent in the first half and carried a 35-16 advantage into intermission as Saint Mary’s (3-18, 2-14 MIAC) was just 5-of-29 from the field over the opening period.
With the Knights still leading by 19 points with 11:20 remaining in the contest, the Cardinals’ Will Swiggum converted an old-fashioned three-point play, which sparked an eight-minute 18-4 Saint Mary’s run that brought the hosts to within 49-44. All four Carleton points during that stretch came on free-throws from Tianen Chen (Fy./Germantown Hills, Ill./Metamora Township).
Another pair of free throws by John Eckert (So./North Judson, Ind./North Judson) at the three-minute mark further slowed Saint Mary’s momentum, and Taylor Hanson (Sr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) came up with a pair of critical buckets in traffic to help Carleton re-exert control over the contest. The Knights then iced the game at the free-throw line
Hanson, Shane McSparron (Jr./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview), and Peter Bakker-Arkema (Fy./Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) had 12 points apiece for Carleton.
Evan Pederson tallied 13 points and Swiggum added 11 for the hosts, who shot 50 percent in the second half.
Carleton will put its modest win streak on the line when the Knights hosts Gustavus Adolphus College for a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 8. The women’s game starts at 1 p.m. with the men taking the floor at 3 p.m. Live video and stats of both games will be available via Knights Online.