Men's basketball rallies late to top Carleton on the road

More news about: St. Olaf

NORTHFIELD, Minn. – The St. Olaf College men's basketball team overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to claim a 62-59 victory over crosstown-rival Carleton College on Wednesday evening in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) action at West Gym.

Carleton (2-4, 1-2 MIAC) led by 11 on three occasions in the second half and led by six with 4:56 to go before St. Olaf (4-4, 3-0 MIAC) scored the game's final nine points to escape with the win. The Knights missed their last eight shots from the floor and committed four turnovers over the final 4:56.

Senior Austin Korba led the Oles with 20 points and eight rebounds, while playing all 40 minutes of the contest. Sophomore Dominic Bledsoeadded 14 points, four assists and four steals, while juniors Noah Beckand Troy Diggins Jr. also reached double figures with 11 and 10, respectively.

St. Olaf and Carleton traded the lead back and forth 10 times in the opening 10 minutes of the game, which saw neither team lead by more than three. The Oles took a 19-18 lead on a Korba three-pointer with 10:33 remaining in the half before Matthew Stritzel scored five-straight points to put the Knights back on top.

A Bledsoe three-pointer with 2:28 to go before the half tied the game at 27-27 before a Korba layup gave St. Olaf the lead again, but Carleton closed the half with a quick 5-0 run over the final 1:26 to claim a 32-29 lead at the break. Korba and Bledsoe combined for 21 of the Oles' 29 points in the opening half.

Carleton made three-pointers on its first two possessions of the second half on either side of a Bledsoe jumper to open up a 38-31 advantage. Consecutive Stritzel three-pointers stretched the Knights' lead to 11, 44-33, with 15:57 to go, as Carleton's first six baskets of the second half were all from behind the arc.

Trailing 50-39 with 9:40 to go, a Korba layup and a Diggins Jr. three-pointer brought the Oles with six, 50-44, with 8:46 to play, but the Knights maintained the six-point margin inside the final five minutes. Layups from Beck and Frank Delaney made it a 59-57 game with 1:20 to go and, after a stop, Beck converted a three-point play after he grabbed an offensive rebound to put St. Olaf ahead, 60-59, with 37 seconds to go.

Leading for the first time in the second half, Bledsoe recorded a steal to get the ball back and two Carleton fouls sent Delaney to the line. The senior sank both free throws to make it a 62-59 ballgame with 22 seconds to go and the Knights missed a pair of three-pointers on their final possession, as St. Olaf topped its crosstown-rival for the eighth time in the last 11 meetings.

With the win, the Goat Trophy will be on the line when St. Olaf hosts Carleton on Wednesday, Jan. 16.

The Oles host Gustavus Adolphus College on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Skoglund Center.