NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Taylor Hanson (Jr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) scored a career-high 21 points and Scott Theisen (Sr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) added his seventh career double-double as the Carleton College men’s basketball team pulled away from rival St. Olaf College, 77-53.
The win moved the Knights (12-9, 9-7 MIAC) into a tie with Saint John’s for fifth place in the conference standings, while St. Olaf (8-13, 7-9 MIAC) slipped two games back in the playoff chase with four contests remaining in the regular season.
Thanks to hot shooting from long range, the Oles built a 21-15 lead with 10:24 remaining in the first half. That’s when the Carleton defense clamped down and Hanson started to really exert himself in the post. The Knights went on a 23-7 run over the next nine minutes with the junior accounting for 12 of those points. He totaled 16 points by intermission, already matching his season high.
St. Olaf made 5-of-9 three pointers in the first half, including a long prayer by Nathan Kuck as the opening period expired. Those points brought the Oles within 38-31 at the break.
Any hope that the visitors had of this basket sparking a comeback disappeared when Carleton opened the second half with a 15-4 run to put the game out of reach. The Oles got no closer than a dozen points over the balance of the contest.
Theisen once again played the roll of stat sheet stuffer, tallying 17 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and six steals. He is now only seven points shy of joining Carleton’s 1,000-point club.
Tom Sawatzke (Sr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) added 16 points and now sits 22nd on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,055 points. Shane McSparron (So./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) chipped in 13 points as well as contributing stellar defense once again.
The Knights limited the Oles top two scorers, Connor Gunderson and Sterling Nielsen, to a combined 12 points, less than half their usual output. St. Olaf’s leading scorer tonight was Kuck with 13 points off the bench
Carleton hosts Augsburg College on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Live video and live stats will be available on Knights Online.