St. Olaf reclaims Goat, sweeps regular-season series with Carleton

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NORTHFIELD, Minn. – The St. Olaf College men's basketball team reclaimed the Goat Trophy with a 59-56 victory over crosstown-rival Carleton College in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) contest Wednesday evening at Skoglund Center.

St. Olaf (8-7, 7-3 MIAC) brought the Goat Trophy back home after completing the regular-season sweep of Carleton (5-10, 3-7 MIAC). The Knights previously held the trophy after beating the Oles twice in the 2016-17 season. 

The Oles regained the lead, 54-52, with 2:10 remaining in the game after senior Austin Korba sank a three-pointer and junior Nate Albers hit a jumper on St. Olaf's next possession to make it a 56-52 lead.

Kent Hanson drained a three-pointer on the ensuing Carleton possession to bring the visitors back within one with 1:12 to go. After both teams split a pair of free throws, Korba went 1-for-2 at the line with 28 seconds left to put the Oles ahead, 58-56.

St. Olaf got a stop on the Knights' next trip down court, as Albers came up with a steal, before Dominic Bledsoe split two free throws with six seconds left. Hanson's potential game-tying three-pointer from the right corner hit the side of the backboard as time expired.

Korba led the Oles and recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Albers, Noah Beck and Sam Stensgard each added eight points for the Oles, along with eight rebounds from Albers.

St. Olaf jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after a jumper from Korba, but the Knights answered with a 9-0 run and took a three-point lead with a three-pointer from Matthew Stritzel. The Oles climbed back and regained the lead after junior Troy Diggins Jr. sank a jumper, making the score 14-12 with 8:53 remaining in the first half.

The Oles matched their highest lead of the half as Beck finished a layup inside, to give St. Olaf a five-point advantage with 3:10 to go in the first half. Senior Ben Scheffley sank a pair of free throws in the final seven seconds of the half to give the Oles a three-point lead heading into the second half.

Carleton started the second half with a 13-5 run and took a five-point lead with 12:54 remaining in the game, as Henry Bensen sank a three-pointer from Quinn Johnson. With 10:21 to go, a Bledsoe three-pointer evened the score at 43-43.

The Knights reclaimed a three-point lead with just over five minutes remaining after a layup from Carlston McKenzie. Carleton would remain on top until a three-pointer from Korba gave St. Olaf a two-point lead with 2:10 to go.

St. Olaf outrebounded Carleton, 39-30, and forced 14 turnovers compared to just eight committed by the Oles.

The Oles have won nine of their last 12 meetings with the Knights dating back to Dec. 3, 2013, and three of the last four contests in the last two seasons.

St. Olaf is back to action on Saturday, Jan. 19, as they host Augsburg in a MIAC contest beginning at 3 p.m.