Tommies climb to 15-1 with comeback victory

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Senior guard Cortez Tillman scored a game-high 20 points and senior center Ryan Saarela scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half to lead No. 6-ranked St. Thomas to a 71-61 comeback win over host Carleton in MIAC men's basketball play Saturday in Northfield.

The Tommies (15-1 overall, 10-1 MIAC) improved to 8-0 in January in a 22-day span. They ran their season winning streak to 11 and have captured 16 of their last 17 road games. They avenged their only defeat of the seson by rallying from a seven-point halftime deficit.

UST has a two-game lead on 8-3 St. John's atop the MIAC standings, with four other teams tied for third place at 7-4.

The Toms converted 63 percent fom the field in the second half (19-of-30) to help overcome 30-percent shooting in the second half. They had only seven turnovers and posted a 42-31 edge in rebounding. Saarela added seven rebounds.

Carleton (10-6, 7-4) closed the first half on a 10-2 run to build a 32-25 halftime lead.

UST senior Taylor Montero went 0-for-3 behind the arc in the first half but knocked down three treys in the second half. His last three capped an 11-2 run that built a 12-point lead with 3:45 to play.

Monero scored 15 points. Grant Shaeffer added 10 of his 12 points in the second half and chipped in five boards and four assists.

Tianen Chen had 13 points to lead the Knights.

St. Thomas plays Monday at Concordia-Moorhead.