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Stritzel scores 9 points in 17 seconds as Knights rally late to top Saint Mary's, 74-71

January 9, 2019 at 10:37 pm
By Oliver Wolyniec '19
Matthew Stritzel
Matthew Stritzel
Photo: Ruthie Yankwitt '22

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Despite trailing by five points with barely half a minute left in the game, the Carleton College men’s basketball team stormed back to defeat Saint Mary’s University 74-71 on Wednesday night. Matthew Stritzel (So./Chicago, Ill./Niles Notre Dame) keyed the comeback by draining a trio of 3-pointers over a 17-second span as the Knights finished the game on an 11-3 run over the final 35 seconds.

The Knights (5-8, 3-5 MIAC) jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first minute-plus of the game before the Cardinals (6-8, 2-7 MIAC) got on the board, courtesy of a Kevin Gleason 3-pointer. Carleton started to pull away, though, leading by as much as nine at 17-8 after Carlston McKenzie (Fy./Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) converted in the lane for the Knights.

Next, it was Saint Mary’s turn to go on a run, this one of the 8-0 variety, bringing it back within one point at the 11:27 mark. A few minutes later, Carleton took control again, with Kent Hanson (Jr./St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy) doing the dirty work. A driving layup by the junior gave the Knights a 26-19 advantage with under eight minutes to play.

The visitors closed the gap again late in the period, but the Knights found themselves leading 34-29 at the half. Hanson led all scorers at intermission with 11 points to go with five rebounds.

The Cardinals wasted no time erasing the Knights’ lead in the second half, tying the game at 34-34 at the 18:58 mark. The two teams traded buckets for a few minutes before Saint Mary’s went up by four at 43-39 with 15:03 left to play. Joe Thursby (Fy./Park Ridge, Ill./Northridge Prep) got hot for the Knights at the right time, knocking down two 3-pointers midway through the period to put his team up 49-47.

Saint Mary’s used a 6-0 run to retake a four-point lead with 7:34 left in the game. The visitors stretched their lead to six with under three minutes to play, but Stritzel singlehandedly brought the Knights back from the brink.

With his team trailing 68-63 with less than 40 seconds left in the game, Stritzel nailed a corner three to make it a two-point game. Carleton immediately fouled, and Sawyer Rosner converted two free throws at the other end to put the Cardinals back up by four. On the Knights’ next offensive possession, Stritzel got the ball at the top of the key, spun away from his defender, and elevated for a contested three, hitting nothing but net to bring Carleton within 70-69 with 20.2 seconds left.

Instead of fouling again on the ensuing Saint Mary’s inbound, Carleton senior Noah Plewa (Eau Claire, Wis./Wildlands School) the Knights forced a jump ball and regained possession for the Knights. Stritzel streaked to the corner and splashed home a fadeaway 3-pointer, giving him nine points in an 17-second span and boosting Carleton to a 72-70 edge with 15.9 seconds to play. Carleton put the game on ice with a two free throws and went on to claim the spectacular victory by a 74-71 tally.

Hanson was Carleton’s leading scorer with 19 points. He added 11 rebounds and three assists in the winning effort as he claimed his fourth consecutive double-double. Stritzel finished with 18 points, as he went 4-for-8 from deep. Joh Farmer (Sr./Roseville, Minn.) poured in 12 points for the Knights, and Thursby totaled a career-high 10 points off the bench.

Gleason paced the Cardinals with 19 points and five assists. Rosner had 13 points, and Caden Freetly and Bradley Hill each scored 12.

During the second half, both teams shot better than 60 percent from beyond the arc with Carleton’s 7-of-11 (64 percent) effort narrowly edging Saint Mary’s 5-of-8 (63 percent) showing.

Next up for the Knights is an away game at Hamline University on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 3:00 p.m. Links to live video and stats will be available on Knights Online.