NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Another solid shooting performance by Scott Theisen (Jr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) and Tom Sawatzke (Jr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) propelled the Carleton College men’s basketball team to its third consecutive victory, a 72-64 triumph over Concordia College. Theisen paced the Knights with 20 points—his fourth 20+point game this season—as he went 7-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Sawatzke was 4-of-8 from downtown en route to an 18-point performance.
In addition to strong play from that pair, Carleton (9-12, 6-10 MIAC) received exceptional efforts from two of its big men. Caleb Rosenow (Sr./Red Wing, Minn./Red Wing) tallied 15 points and five rebounds, and senior Michael Grinnell (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) supplied eight points on perfect 4-for-4 shooting in addition to his seven rebounds. For Grinnell, all that came in only 15 minutes of play. Said Rosenow of his teammate in the post, “The stats show, he is just a continual fighter, and it’s great to see him have a game like that.”
The Knights balanced attack also included seven points, a team-best five assists, and two blocks from first-year Shane McSparron (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview).
Concordia (7-14, 5-11 MIAC) started quickly and led 13-5 only five minutes into the contest. Carleton quickly flipped the switch. Over the next 11 minutes of play, the Knights went on a dominating 26-6 run to completely change the complexion of the contest.
A Theisen basket followed by a pair of Sawatzke buckets—including a layup sparked by a McSparron block of Concordia big man Jason Huus—helped pull Carleton within one at the 13:17 mark. Two minutes later, Kyle Mileusnic (Fy./Long Lake, Minn./Orono) converted a layup to give the Knights their first lead of the game at 16-15.
But the Carleton run did not stop there. After the Knights pushed their lead up to four with 7:56 to play in the half, Carleton really started to heat up. Consecutive triples by Sawatzke and Theisen gave the Knights a 29-19 advantage with 5:05 remaining on the first-half clock. The margin grew as wide as a dozen points, and after shooting a blistering 63 percent for the period, Carleton held a 36-27 halftime lead.
The Cobbers opened the second period with a 9-2 run, making the score 38-36 with 15:50 still to play. But that was as close as the Concordia would get in this one.
Carleton immediately responded with an 8-2 run of its own, capped by a Theisen triple that put the Knights in front, 46-38. A few minutes later, Carleton matched its game-high lead of 12 as Theisen converted an old-fashioned three-point play that put the Knights up 57-45.
Still trailing by a dozen at the four-minute mark, the Cobbers used a 6-0 burst to slice the deficit in half. A strong put-back by Huus, who had a game-high 21 points and 12 boards, trimmed the Carleton lead to 63-57 with 2:07 on the clock.
The Knights, however, responded. Sawatzke nailed a deep three-pointer from the left wing to push the lead back up to nine, and he put the final nail in the coffin with a layup following a Theisen steal and no-look assist in the closing minute.
Carleton travels to Hamline University on Wednesday, Feb. 8. That game will be broadcast live on KDHL 920AM and Knights Online.