NORTHFIELD, Minn. – In the 18th century, Edmond Burke said, “Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." In the 21st century, defenses that let Tom Sawatzke (Monticello, Minn./Monticello) touch the ball in the closing seconds continue to prove that axiom true.
The Carleton College senior drained the game-winning three pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to lift the Carleton College men’s basketball team to a 64-62 victory over visiting Bethel University. It was Sawatzke’s second game winner over the last eight days and the second time in as many meetings that the Knight point guard shocked Bethel on the final shot of the game. Last Saturday, Sawatzke beat Division II program Hawaii Pacific, 74-71, with a long fadeaway at the buzzer. On Jan. 30, 2012, his triple as time expired bested Bethel by a 54-52 score.
The Knights (3-1, 1-0 MIAC) struggled at times to find their offensive rhythm, but the hosts won the rebounding battle and went a perfect 16-for-16 at the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Bethel (2-3, 0-2 MIAC) missed all five of its free throw attempts, which ultimately proved very costly
Down 8-0 to start the game, Carleton battled back and eventually carried a 33-31 advantage into halftime. The second period remained close, with neither team leading be more than six points. The squads combined for 17 lead changes in the contest.
With 3:21 remaining, Scott Theisen (Sr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) connected from long range to give Carleton its largest lead of the second half, 59-55. Bethel answered back with a triple by Jared Nelson and a Taylor Hall layup with a minute left to play.
First-year John Eckert (North Judson, Ind./North Judson) pushed the Knights back in front by calmly knocking down a pair of free throws with 44 ticks still on the clock, but the Royals’ JD Robinson countered with a baseline jumper that gave the Royals a 62-61 lead with 0:17 still to go.
Sawatzke got the ball on the right wing with six seconds to go, took a couple dribbles, and then drained a contested 23-footer. Bethel did not get off a comeback shot before time expired.
Story continued below
• Video of Dec 1, 2012 game-winning shot vs. Bethel
• Video of Nov. 24, 2012 game-winner vs. Hawaii Pacific
• Video of Jan. 30, 2012 game-winner vs. Bethel
While Sawatzke provided Carleton’s final points, he had plenty of help. Theisen filled up the stat sheet with a game-high 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and a steal. Tyler Goetz (Sr./Chaska, Minn./Chaska) knocked down a trio of long-range attempts for his nine points. Taylor Hanson (Jr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) contributed nine boards and eight points, matching the scoring output of Shane McSparron (So./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview).
Eckert had the other four points for Carleton. Although backup guard Kyle Milleusnic (So./Long Lake, Minn./Orono) did not score, he corralled a career-best six rebounds.
Bethel had four players in double figures, including Kyle Zimmerman’s 10-point, 10-rebound afternoon. Hall entered the day leading the MIAC at 30.8 points per game, but Hanson, Eckert, and company limited the Royal to 14 points.
Carleton will be right back at West Gym on Monday, Dec. 3 for a 7:30 p.m. affair with Saint John’s University. Live video—including a high definition feed—will be available via Knights Online.