NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- Sometimes the tighter you grip something, the more it slips away.
That was the case on senior night in West Gymnasium, where despite a stellar performance from senior Michael Grinnell (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview)—who appeared to be all over the court for the Knights—the Carleton College men’s basketball team suffered a 63-49 loss to Augsburg College. Playing his final collegiate home game, Grinnell recorded new career bests with four blocks and four steals. He matched his career-high with nine rebounds and also contributed six points and two assists. Fellow senior Caleb Rosenow (Red Wing, Minn./ Red Wing) tallied nine points and five rebounds for the Knights. Student-assistant coach Spencer Pratt (Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) was the third senior recognized during a special pre-game ceremony.
"(Michael) just gets after it. He's athletic, he anticipates, he does his assignments, he knows his gaps and angles and stuff like that. It's really fun to see him play like that,” said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland. “He made a real difference defensively. He's been a real positive on the floor. That's how eight minutes a game a month ago moves up to 31 minutes a game. He did West Gym proud in his last outing"
The first half featured back-and-forth action that included five ties and 10 lead changes. Carleton (9-15, 6-13 MIAC) applied the defensive pressure from the opening tip, recording six blocked shots and forcing seven Augsburg (16-9, 13-7 MIAC) turnovers in the first frame. The Knights’ 11-for-29 performance from the field over Augsburg’s 11-for-32 allowed them to carry a 28-24 lead into intermission.
Augsburg seized the momentum in the opening minutes of the second half, going on a 21-7 run and to build a 45-35 lead with 11:06 to play.
The Knights weren’t ready to go away. Less than a minute later, Grinnell blocked Augsburg big man Cory Polta, grabbed the defensive rebound, and fired a long pass to Tom Sawatzke (Jr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello). The Carleton point guard pulled up on the fast break and drained his second consecutive three-pointer to cut the Auggies’ lead to four with 10:10 to play.
Nearly four minutes later Grinnell came up with another steal and fed Scott Theisen (Jr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park), who somehow converted a contested fastbreak layup to keep Carleton close, 49-45 with 6:25 still on the clock.
It was here that the game slipped away, as Carleton went 2-for-9 from the field in the final minutes as the Auggies put together a game-sealing 14-4 run.
Sawatzke totaled 14 points, a total matched by Theisen who also snagged eight rebounds.
Andy Grzesiak-Grimm led the Auggies’ effort with 18 points and nine rebounds. Andy Seidlitz contributed 12 points, and Polta added eight points and a game-high 12 boards.
Saturday’s regular-season finale between Carleton and St. Olaf will have an awful lot at stake for the Knights. Due to the Oles’ 67-66 overtime win in the season’s first meeting, the famed “Goat Trophy” will be on the line. Carleton gained possession of the keepsake with victories in a pair of close contests during the 1989-90 campaign, and the trophy has resided with Carleton every year since, except the 2002-03 season when the Oles pulled out a pair of overtime wins. Both portions of the women’s men’s doubleheader will be broadcast live on KDHL 920 AM and Knights Online.