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ISSUE 121 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/22/2008

Men fail in bid for playoffs

By Matt Tiano
Executive Editor


Friday, February 22, 2008

9-0.

That was the Carleton scoring run to start Wednesday night's men's basketball cross-campus showdown, and the Knights lead through much of the game sat right at or near that number. Carleton clinched a playoff berth in the 65-51 win and successfully eliminated the Oles from playoff contention.

On senior day at Skoglund Center, four-year athlete Robert McDonald '08 earned a ceremonial start. Guard Steve Banick led the way for St. Olaf, amassing 14 points, four boards and three assists. Northfield native Chad Norberg '08 finished with 10.

St. Olaf didn't have a third scorer in double figures, indicative of Carleton's high-pressure, man-to-man defense. The Oles managed very few easy looks, especially on the interior.

"With Jeremy [Sutherland] back in our lineup we can get out and guard people," Knights coach Guy Kalland said. "We've got two defensive stars and we've got real good role players on the defensive end. I think [the biggest challenge] is keeping the home team off the free-throw line."

The Knights' Zach Johnson led all scorers with 29, going 9-of-16 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line. While double-teaming in the post was definitely part of the Oles' gameplan, St. Olaf head coach Dan Kosmoski elected to give Brady McMahon '09 free reign over Johnson because of Carleton's ability to hit from the perimeter.

"We've used [a double-team] in the last two games, and you can't play that card too many times," Kosmoski said. "If we would've doubled [in the post] you would have seen a lot more threes. We fought back, but you can't get out to that start."

For Carleton, the win takes some pressure off their tilt with Gustavus in St. Peter on Saturday. Especially refreshing for the Knights was the re-claimed Goat Trophy, in addition to avenging the Jan. 16 loss to St. Olaf, a game in which Carleton led by 10 with 9:29 to play.

"It was a pretty big game for both teams," Johnson said. "St Olaf is playing for the playoffs. We're playing for home court in the playoffs. Our Goat [Trophy] is on the line. It was just nice to come in here and get a win, especially after what happened on our court."

Kalland maintains that the quick start for Carleton was crucial to take the St. Olaf crowd out of the game.

"We have a few new wrinkles that we're going to throw out obviously," Kalland said. "We worked on a couple quick catch and shoot things that you saw us get and that was predetermined [to start the game]."

St. Olaf finishes the season 12-13 and an even.500 (10-10) in the MIAC. Although the Oles failed to clinch a repeat bid to the conference playoffs, St. Olaf managed to make an exciting late-season run, including come-from-behind wins against Gustavus (68-67) and Bethel (69-65).

The Oles return several players who played significant minutes this season, including second-leading scorer Mark Torell '10, who missed the season's end with an injury.

Besides Torell, the post tandem of McMahon and Mitch Haugen '09 will anchor an experienced frontcourt. Both of the team's freshmen, guard Tucker Sheley and forward Nate Krosschell, saw double-digit minutes in their rookie campaigns.





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