Despite three players with double-digit scoring performances, including senior Taylor Hanson’s ‘14 game-high 23 points to match with his seven rebounds, the Carleton College men’s basketball team’s second-half comeback fell just short, 62-57, against the visitors from Gustavus Adolphus College.
Plagued by turnovers and missed opportunities, the Knights trailed 32-19 at intermission as the visiting Gusties shot 54 percent in the first half.
Carleton, however, started the second half on an impressive 11-0 run over the opening five minutes of the second half. The Knight defense kept Gustavus scoreless over the first nine possessions of the half. Meanwhile, Carleton finally started to get some shots to fall, hitting on four of their first seven attempts from the field in the period, including a big three-pointer from Peter Bakker-Arkema ‘17, who scored 12 on the afternoon. The run concluded with four consecutive points by Tianen Chen ‘17, bringing the Knights within 32-30 with 15:21 remaining.
The teams exchanged mini-runs, and it was still a two-point game after Bakker-Arkema converted a free-throw with 2:45 to play. But unfortunately for the home squad, that was as close as they were able to get.
Gustavus’ Brian Jacobs knocked down a huge three-pointer to respond to the Knights’ narrowing of the advantage, and after a pair of Hanson free-throws, Jacobs hit a tough baseline jumper to secure a five-point lead with just 1:29 stlll to play. The visitors knocked down enough attempts from the charity stripe down the stretch to hold on for a 62-57 win.
After getting off to extremely hot starts in back-to-back victories, the Knights shot just 35 percent from the field in the opening period with nine turnovers, creating the double-digit halftime deficit that proved too difficult to overcome.
Shane McSparron ‘15 was the third Knight in double figures, going 5-of-9 from the field for 12 points.
Martin Feddersen paced the Gusties with 17 points, five assists, and four steals. Jordan Dick contributed 14 points, and Jacobs added 13 points.
The Knights looked to put the loss behind them quickly as they traveled to Concordia-Moorhead to face the Cobbers on Monday, but the trip up north ended in defeat as well. Carleton’s post-season prospects took a serious hit with a 67-60 loss.
The defeat leaves the Knights two games out of the final playoff spot with only three games to play.
Carleton (9-13, 7-10 MIAC) drops into tie with Concordia (11-11, 7-10 MIAC) for seventh in the conference standings with both squads looking up at Bethel University in the chase for the sixth seed in the MIAC Playoffs. Should Carleton and Bethel end up in a two-team tie for sixth, the Knights own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Royals after sweeping the season series.
On Monday, Carleton led 28-25 at the break, but Concordia outscored its guests by ten points during the second half as the Cobbers shot 61 percent for the period and possessed a 26-12 advantage after halftime in points in the paint.
Peter Bakker-Arkema ‘17 led a trio of Knights in double figures, finishing with a 11 points thanks to a trio of three pointers. Shane McSparron ‘15 and Mitchell Biewen ‘17 added 10 points apiece.
Taylor Hanson ‘14 went just 3-of-10 from the floor but found other ways to contribute, pulling down a game-high 11 boards and doling out a game-best four assists.
Jordan Bulger paced Concordia with 17 points, and Tom Fraase added 15 points including three clutch three pointers. The first of those triples snapped a 47-47 deadlock with 8:15 remaining and sparked the Cobbers’ 10-2 run that proved to be the difference.
Carleton returns to West Gym and hosts Saint John’s University on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 3 p.m.