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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Great Six-cess! Red-hot Men’s BBall keeps winning

<u’re playing hot basketball like the Carleton men’s hoops team, it’s important to remember to play within yourself, take things one game at a time, and also how to stop, drop and roll for when you really catch fire. It’s almost time to remind the Knights of the basics of fire safety after they’ve reeled off six convincing wins in a row to catapult themselves into the MIAC playoff picture.

Most of the team’s half-dozen wins have come in dominant fashion, with Carleton prevailing by double digits on four different occasions. The Knights wire-to-wire 66-63 battle with Hamline though, proved that Guy Kalland’s team still has the grit to pull out the close ones.

Led by the dynamic duo of Carl Hipp and “Downtown” Ray Brown, the Pipers presented the Knights with a pair of highly problematic matchups. Brown showed Carleton on a couple different occasions that he’s no stranger to getting above the rim, elevating considerably for a couple emphatic throwdowns. Unfazed by the conference’s leading scorer, however, Jeremy Sutherland played lockdown ‘D’ to hold Brown well below his scoring average and to make the case for being anointed MIAC Player of the Week.

Sutherland wasn’t the only Knight who rose to the challenge of containing Brown. In the second half, Brown glided toward the hoop to attempt a layup, but Bryan Rosett joined him in the rarefied air above the rim to swat his foe’s weak finger roll off the glass, much to the delight of the crowd. But the biggest defensive play came in the games closing seconds, with Carleton clinging to a one point lead. Hamline guard Nick Carroll drove the lane, but his shot attempt was rejected by Seth Jonker to seal the win and send West Gym into a frenzy.

After suffering an overtime loss to St. Olaf in December, the Goat Trophy was in jeopardy on Monday night, but the Knights Rosett-to the occasion, and laid a resounding smackdown on the Oles across town at the Skoglund Center, 76-50. The Knights suffocating defense rendered the Olaf offense as stale as month-old Malt-o-Meal. Meanwhile, the jump-shot of “Dutch Crunch” (though not yet a line of breakfast cereal), was as fresh as ever, helping Seth Jonker net a team-high 18 points to go with 10 boards.

The game was all but decided right before the half, when Bryan Rosett went into Kobe mode and sparked a torrid 21-2 run that sent the Knights into the locker room with a commanding 22 point lead. The Knights did not relent after the break, rubbing the Oles’ collective faces in an approximately 30-point deficit for the rest of the way.

Even with their winning streak at five games and counting, the red hot Knights could not afford to overlook a scrappy Saint Mary’s team that had won four of their last seven, including a recent upset of conference powerhouse Gustavus. From the opening tip, however, Sutherland’s golden touch extinguished all hope for the Cardinals, as Carleton cruised to an 80-60 triumph. The reigning Player of the Week rained threes, ran the floor, and thrived off of nifty passes from his teammates all night, en route to scoring a career-best 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
Though thrilled with his team’s current success, head coach Guy Kalland does not want his men to grow complacent and rest on their laurels, but rather “sustain what they’re doing and continue to play instinctively”. Kalland believes that the team’s 3-7 mark over the first half of the MIAC schedule was not representative of this unit’s true ability. “We weren’t a bad team then” Kalland explains, “and I think we’re using a lot of those tough losses for motivation now”.

A rematch with MIAC juggernaut St. Thomas looms on deck for the Knights tomorrow in St. Paul. When the teams clashed at West Gym a few weeks ago, the Knights bounded out to a 15-1 lead, but couldn’t contain the vaunted Tommies for long, eventually falling 60-51. The team’s enthusiasm to lock horns with the Tommies was reiterated by Kalland after Wednesday’s win when he said “there’s nobody we’d rather be playing than St. Thomas.”

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