NORTHFIELD, Minn. – Behind spectacular performances from junior Kevin Grow and first-year Kent Hanson, the Carleton College men's basketball team nearly dethroned the defending national champions from the University of St. Thomas. The Knights, however, came up just short by a 62-61 tally on Saturday afternoon as a tip-in by the Tommies' Connor Bair with 2.1 seconds remaining in the extra period proved to be the difference.
Grow turned in another dominating performance for Carleton (4-7, 1-5 MIAC), scoring 19 points and pulling down 25 rebounds—the most rebounds in recorded team history, breaking Craig Jonas' mark of 23 set back in 1984 (SEE CHART BELOW). Hanson made his first career start and poured in a game- and career-high 22 points.
"I thought we played at a high level for the entire game tonight, on both ends of the floor, a very focused outing," said Carleton head coach Guy Kalland. "Our two first-year players, Kent Hanson and Henry Bensen, played like they were juniors...obviously a tough finish, but a rock solid performance."
MOST REBOUNDS -- SINGLE GAME
||vs. St. Thomas
|22||--||Alan "Rick" Chap||vs. Knox||2/22/64|
|20||--||Mark Wandmacher||vs. Gustavus||2/27/84|
|20||--||Craig Jonas||Mount Senario||11/20/84|
|20||--||Craig Jonas||Concordia-St. Paul||11/27/84|
|19||--||(5x) last: Kevin Grow||at Saint John's||1/25/16|
Interestingly, despite being a one-point overtime game, there were only three ties and four lead changes in the contest.
Defense was the story of the game early as the Tommies (9-3, 5-2 MIAC) carried a 21-17 lead into intermission. That was the lowest combined point total in a Carleton game for any half since the Knights held a 25-13 halftime advantage over Bethel in a MIAC Playoff game on Feb. 20, 2013. Today the teams combined to shoot 31 percent and commit 18 turnovers prior to halftime.
The Knights did a fantastic job of preventing the Tommies from pulling away in the second half. St. Thomas clawed its way to a 52-47 lead with 3:21 remaining in the second half, but the Knights clamped down on defense and limited the visitors to a single free throw over the remainder of regulation.
Both teams missed scoring chances in the final 20 seconds of regulation, sending the Knights to overtime for the second time this week.
Carleton shot out of the gates, reeling off eight straight points to take a 61-53 lead midway through the extra frame. The Tommies responded by gradually chipping away at the deficit until they trailed 61-60. The Knights came up with another defensive stop with 16 ticks remaining, but the hosts turned the ball over giving St. Thomas another opportunity. John Veil, who paced the Tommies with 14 points on the day, misfired on a jump shot, but Bair's tip in pushed the visitors in front. Hanson's three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark, and the Knights dropped another heartbreaker.
The Knights will hit the road on Wednesday, Jan. 11 for a women's-men's doubleheader at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. The men's game is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m., and a live audio broadcast will be provided via Knights Online and KDHL 920AM in the Northfield/Faribault area.