NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Scott Theisen (Sr./Champlin, Minn./Champlin Park) notched his seventh career 20-point game and added seven assists—including a setup of the game-winning score in the closing seconds—to lead the Carleton College men’s basketball team to a 66-65 victory over Saint John’s. The Knights (4-1, 2-0 MIAC) are one of three teams still undefeated in conference play.
Tom Sawatzke (Sr./Monticello, Minn./Monticello) added 12 points, while John Eckert (Fy./North Judson, Ind./North Judson) came off the bench to provide 10 points, including the game-winning basket with 0:10 remaining.
Carleton started out hot and back-to-back buckets by Taylor Hanson (Jr./Saint Paul, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) gave Carleton a 19-8 lead with 10:30 left in the first half.
After a short Saint John’s run, the Knights extended the lead back out to double-digits and held a 38-25 advantage at intermission.
The flow of the game changed with 10:58 remaining when Hanson went down with a leg injury and did not return. Carleton led 57-46 at the time, but the Knights made only 3-of-16 field-goal attempts over the balance of the contest, including misses on all six shots from beyond the arc. While Carleton was going cold, the Johnnies put together a quick 11-2 spurt and made it a two-point game with seven minutes left in the contest.
Saint John’s eventually tied the contest at 63-63 when Mitchell Kuck converted a fastbreak layup with 3:20 left on the clock. After yet another Carleton misfire, Kuck gave the Johnnies got their first lead of the evening at 65-63 with another basket from close range.
An Eckert free throw cut the margin to one with 1:08 to go, but following a Carleton turnover, the Knights were forced to foul Seth Marx with only 24 seconds left. The Johnnies’ leading scorer this season missed the front end of a one-and-one, opening the door for another dramatic ending at West Gym.
Theisen found Eckert alone underneath the hoop, and the rookie converted the layup with 10 ticks on the clock. From there it was up to the Carleton defense to preserve the one-point victory. Saint John’s long attempt at a final shot was well off target.
Kuck finished with 21 points to lead all scorers, while Marx scored all 10 of his points in the second half en route to a double-double thanks to 11 rebounds.
Hanson narrowly missed a double-double of his own, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds in 25 minutes. Tyler Goetz (Sr./Chaska, Minn./Chaska) chipped in eight points, and Shane McSparron (So./Apple Valley, Minn./Eastview) accounted for the other seven tallies.
The Knights will step out of conference play and travel to Waverly, Iowa to take on Wartburg College on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.
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