ST. PAUL, Minn. – Tom Sawatzke (Sr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) led four Knights in double figures as his 26-point effort helped the Carleton College men’s basketball team pull away from host Hamline University for a 94-66 triumph. Nine different players scored for the visitors, who blew open the contest with a decisive 17-1 run in the first half.
After watching his troops rally from a double-digit deficit to earn him career victory No. 400 last Saturday, Knights’ head coach Guy Kalland didn’t have to sweat this one out nearly as long.
Austin Johnson scored Hamline’s (6-10, 3-8 MIAC) first six points, giving the home team its lone lead of the day at 6-5. The Knights (9-6, 6-4 MIAC) countered with a 14-4 burst, the first of several big Carleton runs on this day.
With Carleton later holding a 25-19 advantage, Sawatzke converted a layup in the paint with 8:43 remaining before halftime. It did not seem like a big momentum play at the time, but while the Knights’ defense clamped down at one end of the floor, the offense tallied points on 9-of its next-10 possessions and in the span of four-and-a-half minutes, Carleton had built a 42-20 lead.
After missing eight straight shots during Carleton’s scoring barrage, Hamline managed to temporarily snap its cold spell, yet the hosts still trailed 51-25 at the break.
After intermission, the Pipers tried to play their way back into the game, opening the second half with a 17-6 spurt spanning four minutes. However, Carleton would not be denied and used an 18-2 scoring bonanza to put the game on ice.
The 94 points represents the highest figure by a Carleton team since Feb. 5, 2007, when coincidentally, the Knights trumped the Pipers, 98-61.
While Sawatzke came up a point shy of his career high, Scott Theisen (Sr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) had the better all-around game with 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals. Taylor Hanson (Jr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) contributed 16 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Shane McSparron (So./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) returned to the lineup and contributed 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. John Eckert (Fy./North Judson, Ind./North Judson) came within an eyelash of his second double-double in as many weekends, finishing with a game-high 12 rebounds and nine points.
Hamline was led by Dior Ford, who scored 10 of his 19 points in the final few minutes against the Carleton reserves. No other player reached double figures for the Pipers, who have now lost five straight.
Carleton travels to Collegeville, Minn. to take on Saint John’s University on Monday, Jan. 21 at 7:30p.m. Live audio of the game can be heard on KDHL 920 AM in the Northfield/Faribault area and worldwide via Knights Online.