NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Taylor Hanson (Jr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) was one of four Knights in double figures, but the Carleton College men’s basketball team could not avoid its first home loss of the season, falling 74-52 to No. 2-ranked University of St. Thomas.
Hanson scored the Knights’ (10-9, 7-7 MIAC) first four points, and his tough move to the basket put Carleton in front 16-15 with 8:26 remaining in the first half. That proved to be Carleton’s last lead, however, as St. Thomas (19-1, 14-1 MIAC) put together a 14-2 run over the next 4:30.
With less than a minute remaining before intermission, Tom Sawatzke (Sr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) drained a fast break three-pointer to pull the Knights within 34-29.
The visitors stretched the lead to eight points at the break and extended the advantage to double digits with a steal and layup in the opening seconds of the second half. The Tommies maintained at least a 10-point lead the rest of the way.
St. Thomas entered the night leading the nation in field-goal percentage at .532, but opened the game only 5-of-15 (33 percent) from the floor. Including the first-half run, the Tommies shot 64 percent (23-of-36) during the balance of the contest en route to a 55 percent overall shooting performance. Carleton, meanwhile, shot 37 percent for the contest.
Hanson finished with 11 points, as did Shane McSparron (So./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) and Sawatzke, who moved into a tie with Michael Armacost ’58 for 23rd place on Carleton’s all-time scoring list. The Knights got a team-high 12 points from Scott Theisen (Sr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park), who also doled out a game-high seven assists.
Zach Reideman and John Nance had 15 points apiece to pace St. Thomas.
With the loss, Carleton slipped a half-game back in the race for the post-season. The Knights will look to bounce back when they travel to Winona, Minn. to face Saint Mary’s University for a women’s-men’s doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 2. The ladies tipoff at 1 p.m. with the gentlemen slated for 3 p.m. Live audio of both games can be heard on KDHL 920 AM in the Northfield/Faribault area and worldwide on Knights Online.