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Schedule and Results

Result: L 59-62

Men's Basketball vs. St. Olaf College

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 – 8:00 p.m. at Northfield, Minn. - West Gym

Knights falter late against St. Olaf, fall 62-59

By Oliver Wolyniec '19
Matthew Stritzel,
Matthew Stritzel,
Photo: Nathan Klok

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Despite leading by 11 midway through the second half, the Carleton College men’s basketball team went cold late and dropped a heartbreaker to visiting St. Olaf College by a score of 62-59 on Wednesday night. Matthew Stritzel (So./Chicago, Ill./Niles Notre Dame) poured in a season-high 20 points for the Knights, who also saw a double-double by Kent Hanson (Jr./St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy).

Carleton (2-4, 1-2 MIAC) out-rebounded the visitors by a 46-26 margin in the contest, but that dominance was partially offset by the Knights committing 19 turnovers compared to only six for St. Olaf (4-4, 3-0 MIAC).

The first half began in a flurry, but both teams had trouble getting shots to fall. Eventually the game slowed down, the teams settled into more of an offensive rhythm, and buckets started to came more frequently. The first half featured 11 lead changes as neither team led by more than four points during the period.

Hanson had 11 points and eight rebounds before halftime, helping Carleton to a 26-12 advantage on the boards for the period. The Knights made the most of their second-chance opportunities by scoring 11 points, but Austin Korba and Dominic Bledsoe kept St. Olaf in the game as the duo accounted for 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the first period.

With 8:01 left before intermission, Carleton corralled an offensive rebound and found Matthew Stritzel (So./Chicago, Ill./Niles Notre Dame) waiting on the wing, and he knocked down a three to put Carleton up by four at 23-19. Immediately after a St. Olaf timeout, Bledsoe lifted his team with a three of his own, making it 23-22 Carleton.

A Hanson layup with under four minutes to play pushed the Knights’ advantage to 27-24, but Bledsoe responded again by drilling a shot from beyond the arc, knotting things up at 27-27. Korba then put the Oles in front with a scoop shot, but another bucket from Hanson and a three-pointer from Stritzel handed the Knights a 32-29 lead heading into the break.

Beyond the rebounds and second-chance points, Carleton got 10 points from its bench in the period, compared to none from St. Olaf’s reserves.

Hanson picked up where he left off in the first, knocking down a three on the Knights’ opening possession to give his team a 35-29 edge. St. Olaf answered, but Johnson converted on his second three of the game on the following possession, putting Carleton up 38-31.

Stritzel’s third triple of the half—part of his career high-tying five 3-pointers—handed the Knights a 50-39 lead with 9:40 left, but the Oles began to chip away. Troy Diggins Jr. and Bledsoe nailed back-to-back three-pointers to cut the deficit to six at 53-47 with eight minutes still on the clock.

Carlston McKenzie (Fy./Brooklyn Park, Minn./Champlin Park) made a shot and was fouled with 4:56 still to go, but he missed the free throw, and the Knights led by a score of 59-53. Those were to be the last points Carleton would score.

With under 40 seconds left and the Knights leading 59-57, Noah Beck capitalized on a rare St. Olaf offensive rebound and scooped a shot up and in through a foul. After a timeout, he made the free throw to put the Oles up by one at 60-59. The Knights turned it over on the other end and had to foul center Frank Delaney, who made both free throws, giving St. Olaf a three-point lead with 22.7 seconds left.

Carleton called a timeout to draw up a play. Stritzel gathered the inbound pass and launched a three that rattled off the rim, but the Oles tipped it out of bounds with 6.6 seconds left. The Knights called another timeout, but Hanson’s three-point attempt missed as well, sealing the victory for St. Olaf.

The Oles ended the game on a 23-9 run as the Knights missed their final eight shots and committed four turnovers.

Stritzel paced the Knights with 20 points and added seven rebounds, and two assists. Hanson was not far behind, totaling 17 points and 10 boards en route to his second double-double on the season and the eighth of his career. McKenzie scored eight points, pulled down five rebounds, and blocked three shots. Point guard Henry Bensen (Jr./Roseville, Minn.) collected eight boards, and Zac Olmsted (Fy./Pulsbo, Wash./North Kitsap) contributed six points and five assists off the bench. Carleton finished with 10 three-pointers, its second-highest total over the last three seasons.

Korba poured in 20 points and brought down eight rebounds to lead the Oles, and Bledsoe finished with 14 points and four assists. Beck scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and Diggins Jr. chipped in 10 points for the visitors.

Wednesday’s result means the Goat Trophy will be up for grabs when the rematch is held in January at St. Olaf.

The Knights return to action on Saturday, Dec. 8 with a 3 p.m. tipoff at the University of St. Thomas. Links to live video and stats will be available on Knights Online.