Ole men scratch out win at Macalester
December 1, 2012
ST. PAUL, Minn.- In a game that featured 54 fouls, the St. Olaf men's basketball team ground out a 75-70 win over Macalester in a physical conference game on Saturday afternoon at the Leonard Center.
Despite shooting just 33.9% (21-62) from the field in the game, St. Olaf went 29-39 (74.4%) from the free throw line. The Oles outscored the Scots 29-18 from the charity stripe. Connor Gunderson went 11-15 and Riley Aeikens made nine of 11 attempts from the line to help clinch the win.
Despite being plagued by foul trouble, Gunderson led the Oles (3-2, 2-0 MIAC) with 23 points and also had a team-high seven rebounds. Aeikens shot just 1-13 from the field but his free throw shooting helped him to 11 points. Justin Pahl came off the Ole bench to post 16 points, as he went 4-6 from behind the arc.
Macalester (3-3, 0-2 MIAC) was led by Pierce Peters who matched Gunderson with 23 points. Peters scored 10 of his 23 points in just nine minutes of action in the first half and finished 8-13 from the floor. Justin Wasik made a couple threes and five free throws on his way to 15 points.
The Scots started out hot and raced out to a 17-6 lead in the first four minutes of the game. Peters scored seven of the 17 Macalester points as he made his first three shots from the field. As a team, the Scots made their first seven shots.
Macalester led by as many as 12 early in the first half but St. Olaf battled back to hang in the game. After trailing 20-9, the Oles held Macalester scoreless for over seven minutes as they chipped away at the lead. St. Olaf went on a 17-2 run to turn the 20-9 deficit into a 26-22 lead at the 6:06 mark of the first half after a three by Pahl. Macalester closed the half with a three from Kyle Bernhard to take a 34-33 lead into the locker room.
Neither team led by more than four points in a tightly contested second half. With 1:20 remaining the score was tied at 69 but the Oles scored six of the games' final seven points. A Michael Jenson layup gave St. Olaf the lead and after Wasik missed two free throws, Pahl knocked down two of his own to give the Oles a four-point cushion that they would not relinquish.
Macalester shot the ball better than the Oles shooting at a 43.1% (22-52) clip but was plagued by 24 turnovers. Sterling Nielsen, Pahl, and Aeikens each had four steals for St. Olaf. Nielsen fouled out with 6:11 to play. The Scots also shot the ball better from three making eight threes to just four for the Oles.
St. Olaf hosts Gustavus on Monday night at 7:30 pm in their MIAC home opener. The Oles are then off until December 28 when they face UW-Eau Claire.