NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Despite a game-high tying 19 points from Tom Sawatzke (Sr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello), the Carleton College men’s basketball team lost 63-52 at rival St. Olaf College, meaning the famed Goat Trophy will stay with the Oles for the second straight year.
St. Olaf (4-7, 3-3 MIAC) found its rhythm early and led 17-7 with twelve minutes remaining in the first half. Carleton (6-5, 3-3 MIAC) closed the half on a 16-9 run that found the Knights trailing by just three points, 26-23, at the break.
The Knights closed to within 30-28 when Sawatzke found Shane McSparron (So./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) on the fastbreak with 17:07 still to play. However, Carleton suddenly went cold, going 1-for their next-11 from the field, which allowed the Oles to build a 52-33 advantage with 8:03 remaining in the contest. Carleton sliced that margin in half, but the deficit was too large to overcome.
In addition to his 19 points, Sawatzke also contributed six rebounds to the effort. Scott Theisen (Sr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) scored 15 points and registered team-bests with eight rebounds and four assists. This is the first time all season that at least one of those two players did not reach the 20-point level.
St. Olaf was led in scoring by Connor Gunderson and Sterling Nielsen at 19 and 17 points, respectively. With the victory, the Oles ensured that the coveted Goat Trophy—which requires a two-game regular season sweep to re-claim from its possessor—will remain in the Skoglund Center for another year. This is the first time St. Olaf has possessed the Goat for consecutive seasons since the 1987-88 and 1988-89 campaigns.
Carleton’s short road trip continues with a visit to Augsburg College of a 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Live audio of that game will be available on KDHL 920 AM in the Northfield/Faribault area and worldwide via Knights Online.