Despite his eight assists and seven rebounds, it was senior Scott Theisen’s nine points that will be remembered most out of everything in Wednesday’s game. Those tallies placed him in elite company as just the 27th member of the Carleton 1,000-point club as the Knights defeated Augsburg College 63-58 to move into sole possession of fourth place in the MIAC standings.
In addition to Theisen’s historic night, Carleton (13-9, 10-7 MIAC) received a career-high-tying 21-point contribution from Shane McSparron ’15 and 16 points from Tom Sawatzke ‘13. Forward Taylor Hanson ‘14 chipped in 10 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
Carleton shot 55 percent in the first half and, thanks to five early points from Theisen, grabbed an early 10-4 lead with 16:25 to play in the period. Those early tallies put Theisen on the doorstep of the aforementioned 1,000-point club,
After Augsburg worked its way back to tie the game at 19-19 with 9:17 still to play in the first half, Theisen officially notched his place in Carleton basketball history. Hitting a fadeaway jumper with 8:40 to go in the period, Theisen registered his 1,000th point. That bucket not only brought the crowd to its feet, but it also sparked the Knights on the court.
Over the course of the next eight minutes, Carleton dominated to the tune of an extended 21-9 run. That spurt, coupled with a 20-9 rebounding edge and 16 first-half points for McSparron all played a role in helping the Knights carry a 40-30 advantage into the locker room.
After Carleton established a 12-point lead to open up the second half, Augsburg made its big push. Led by forward Dan Kornbaum, Augsburg put together an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 42-38 only five minutes into the half. By the 11:50 mark, the Auggies had made it a one-possession game. Over the next few minutes, neither team was able to gain much in the way of momentum, and the Carleton lead sat at 50-46 with 8:52 to play.
On the next Knights possession, the home team found a small spark. Forward John Eckert ‘16 converted a tough traditional three-point play, and Carleton went on a small 7-2 burst to give the Knights some breathing room. The stretch, keyed by Carleton’s staunch defense, lasted until the 2:30 mark and gave the Knights a 57-48 advantage. The nine-point lead was the largest for the Knights since the opening minute of the second half. While Augsburg make a late push, Carleton hit 6-of-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch to seal the victory.
After both teams shot north of 50 percent from the field in the first half, it was the opposite after intermission. Carleton converted only 29 percent of its attempts—including an 0-of-7 result from beyond the arc—but the defensive work meant Augsburg fared only slightly better at 36 percent, with an 0-for-10 showing from long rage. The three-point line was unkind to both teams as they went a combined 5-for-34 (15 percent) on the evening.
Kornbaum finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. Parker Hines added 12 points, and Brett Rasmussen chipped in 10.
Theisen, who notched a triple-double on Jan. 23 vs. Concordia, was on pace for another tonight before ending up in foul trouble. He continues to climb the career lists in other categories. Theisen now needs only 10 more rebounds to join Zach Johnson ‘09 as the only players in Carleton history with 1000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, and 100 steals. Sawatzke moved up two more spot and is now 20th all time at Carleton with 1,071 career points.
Tonight’s victory—coupled with a Gustavus loss to first-place St. Thomas—moves the Knights into fourth place with a 10-7 conference ledger. Carleton is a game behind third-place Augsburg, but only two games in front of Bethel and St. Olaf, two teams currently on the outside looking in for the six-team conference tournament.
Carleton’s next chance to improve its position for the postseason comes during a women’s-men’s doubleheader at Macalester College on Saturday, Feb. 9.