NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Some days you got it all working. Wednesday was one of those days for Scott Theisen (Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park).
The senior finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists as he posted the first triple-double in Carleton College men’s basketball history. That performance highlighted the Knights’ 79-72 victory over Concordia College, a squad that had bested the nation’s top-ranked team only two nights prior.
Theisen, whose 10 assists marked a career-high, entered the contest averaging nearly 18 points, seven boards, and five assists per game. And although the guard-forward is known for filling up the stat sheet, his triple-double performance is more than anyone expected.
“I can’t remember another performance like this during my time at Carleton” said head coach Guy Kalland. “Scott is a complete and versatile player...and one of the few I’ve had that can bring the ball up the court against the best, go into the post against the best, and he is a natural wing.”
In addition to the tremendous effort from Theisen, Carleton (10-7, 7-5 MIAC) also received a career-high 21 points from sophomore Shane McSparron (Apple Valley, Minn/Eastview), and 12 points apiece from Tom Sawatzke (Sr./Monticello, Minn/Monticello) and Tyler Goetz (Sr./Chaska, Minn./Chaska). Sawatzke’s performance puts him just a dozen points away from becoming only the 26th member of the Carleton men’s basketball program’s 1,000-point club.
The two teams missed their first six combined shots before the Cobbers (11-7, 8-5 MIAC) took their lone lead of the contest, 2-0 on a layup 90 seconds into the contest. Sawatzke immediately responded with a three pointer, sparking the Knights on a 16-4 burst over the next seven minutes. The Cobbers managed to shrink the deficit down to four with 8:48 to play, but the Knights put together a 14-5 run, capped by Theisen steal and a thunderous dunk by McSparron with 2:20 left in the period. Carleton entered halftime with a 34-24 lead.
Goetz answered some long-range shooting by the Cobbers with a trio of three pointers on the Knights’ first five possessions of the second half. After watching a double-digit lead slip away on Monday, the Knights stayed on the attack throughout this one. The Cobbers closed to within 69-65 with 2:55 left on the clock, but Theisen converted in the paint to start a quick 6-1 run that gave the home squad a little bit of breathing room.
When the Cobbers were forced to start fouling in the closing minute, the Knights took care of business at the charity stripe to seal the victory, their seventh in league play to surpass last season’s total in conference action.
Carleton shot 51 percent in the game, including 59 percent in the second half. That latter figure included a 5-for-7 performance (71 percent) from beyond the arc, led by Goetz’s three triples in as many attempts.
Thesien accumulated eight points, six rebounds, and four assists by halftime. He reached double figures by converting layup at the 13:25 mark of the second period. He tallied his 10th assist by setting up Sawatzke for a three pointer with 9:40 remaining. Theisen corralled his ninth rebound with 11:16 remaining, but the 10th board eluded him for more than seven minutes. Finally with 3:41 remaining, Theisen tipped in an offensive rebound to complete his triple-double and cement his place in program history.
There must be something about seeing the name “Concordia” emblazoned on the opposing team’s uniform, because Theisen went off for career-bests with 31 points and 14 rebounds in the season’s first matchup back in mid-December.
Carleton returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 26 on the road against Bethel University. The game will be part of a women’s-men’s doubleheader with live audio available on KDHL 920 AM and Knights Online.