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Hot shooting leads Knights to win over Hamline, keeps playoff hopes alive

Kent Hanson (Sr./St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy) poured in a game-high 33 points, including a 6-for-10 performance from 3-point range, as the Carleton College men’s basketball team registered an 88-78 victory over visiting Hamline University. The triumph coupled with results elsewhere in the MIAC keeps the Knights’ postseason hopes alive.

Carleton (11-14, 8-12 MIAC) shot 62.5 percent for the game, tied for the third-highest figure in recorded team history). The Knights made 8-of-18 three-pointers (44.4 percent). Hamline (6-18, 4-15 MIAC) shot 53 percent on the game and went 9-of-25 (36 percent) from beyond the arc.

Carleton, which leads the MIAC in trips to the free-throw line, was 20-of-27 at the charity stripe, while Hamline had only one free throw in the contest.

Hamline raced out to an 11-4 lead at the 14:30 mark of the opening half, but a Hanson triple sparked Carleton’s 25-7 run over the next seven minutes. The Knights would not trail again. The Carleton advantage grew to 49-32 by halftime, and the hosts maintained a double-double lead for all but 47 seconds in the second half.

Hanson was 9-of-16 overall and 9-of-10 at the free-throw line en route to his eighth career game of 30 or more points, and the fourth such contest this season.

Alex Battist (So./Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove) added 21 points, and Jeremy Beckler (Fy./Lino Lakes, Minn./White Bear Lake) chipped in 20 points, marking the third time this season Carleton has had three players score at least 20 points in the same game. Isaac Tessier (Fy./White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake) finished with eight points and a career-best eight assists, while Henry Bensen (Sr./Roseville, Minn./Roseville) notched six points and seven assists of his own.

Luke Siwek finished with 27 points to pace Hamline, with Michael Dillon contributing 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the visitors.

Entering the day, five things had to break Carleton’s way for the Knights to make the playoffs. Three of those transpired on Wednesday. The Knights won, St. Olaf lost to St. Thomas (76-69), and Gustavus Adolphus lost to Saint Mary’s (71-63).

Wednesday marked the regular season finale for Carleton, which has the bye on Saturday. The Knights will be scoreboard watching on Saturday, Feb. 22 to see if the other two required events occur.

Should Gustavus lose to Augsburg and St. Olaf fall to Macalester on Saturday, it will put the Knights, Gusties, and Oles into a three-way tie at 8-12 in conference play. In that scenario, Carleton claims the No. 6 seed I the MIAC Playoffs due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.

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