NORTHFIELD, Minn. — For the third time in as many meetings, 40 minutes was not enough to determine a winner between the men's basketball programs from Carleton College and rival St. Olaf College.
Tom Sawatzke (Jr./Monticello, Minn.) hit a jumper with 14 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime, but hot shooting from the Oles in the extra period proved to be the difference as St. Olaf emerged victorious, 73-69. The St. Olaf win means that for only the second time in the last 23 years the Goat Trophy will reside on the Olaf side of the Canon River.
After earning of the “Goat” with a pair of wins in 1958, St. Olaf maintained possession until 1989-90 when Carleton prevailed in a pair of close contests. The trophy had resided with Carleton every year since, except the 2002-03 season when the Oles pulled out a pair of overtime victories.
Today marked the last time two seniors will don the maize and blue. Caleb Rosenow (Red Wing, Minn.) finished with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds. Michael Grinnell (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and collected eight rebounds.
“Caleb and Michael did everything in their power to help us get a 'W',” remarked Coach Guy Kalland about the efforts of his two senior posts.
The Knights (9-15, 6-13 MIAC) jumped out to an eight-point lead after intermission, making six of their first seven shots from the field. Over the next ten minutes the two teams traded punches with neither side able to pull away or pull closer. An old-fashioned three-point play by Michael Jensen sparked the Oles (15-9, 14-5 MIAC) on an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead, 56-55, with only 55 seconds remaining.
After an Ole free throw extended the lead to two, Sawatzke knocked down a jumper with 15.7 seconds remaining to knot the score, the seventh tie of the game. St. Olaf could not connect at buzzer sending the game into overtime for the third consecutive matchup between the two Northfield schools.
St. Olaf got out the gates quickly in overtime scoring two baskets on its first possession. After scoring a basket while being fouled, Sterling Nielsen missed his ensuing free throw attempt, which Stu Neville rebounded and scored on the put back. The Oles would never relinquish the lead in overtime.
Even though St. Olaf made five of its six shots in overtime, the Knights kept battling and still had a chance to pull out the win thanks to two Sawatzke three-pointers. The second one came from well beyond the arc with 22 seconds remaining to bring the Knights within one point.
After two Neville free throws and a timeout, Knights had a chance to tie with seven seconds left. However, the opportunity would be short-lived as the ball was turned over on the ensuing inbounds play squashing the Knights’ hopes.
“As I told the guys after the game. I was really pleased with how hard they played and how well they played. Usually that would’ve been enough to win one. It was joy to be associated with a game like that,” said Kalland. “I thought it was really a heavyweight fight.”
Neville was an unstoppable force in the overtime accounting for nine points in the extra period and a game-high 24 points. Bobby Fong contributed 20 points for the Oles. With the win, the Oles locked up the No. 3 seed in the upcoming MIAC playoffs.
The Knights can potentially return 10 players for the 2012-2013 season.