The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Clutch Shots, close victories, propel Scots to 3-0 start

By Daniel Kerwin

The Scots started things off with a road victory at Gustavus. Next, in their first game in their home away from home at St. Kate’s, Abe Woldeslassie ’08 scored the winning basket against St. Mary’s with 1.6 seconds left in the game. On Wednesday, the Scots topped both of these performances, with Jerry Kraus ’10 scoring the winning basket with 1.5 seconds left in a 72-70 victory over St. Thomas. The team now sits alone atop the MIAC standings with a perfect 3-0 record.After playing warm up games for the season, which included a trip to Claremont, Calif., the team’s MIAC season started with an 82-78 victory at Gustavus on Nov. 8. After falling behind by 14 points at one point during the first half, Macalester used a 50 point second half and career highs in scoring from Woldeslassie (33 points) and Tom Conboy ’08 (34 points) to produce a come-from-behind victory.

“Playing at Gustavus, that’s one of the toughest places to play, and to come out and play well to start the season, that felt good,” Conboy said.

The team went even further down against St. Mary’s on Monday, trailing by 17 early in the first half, but was able to reduce the deficit to 4 points at half time. Down by three with a minute to go, Conboy made a basket and a subsequent free throw to tie the game at 70-70 before Woldeslassie drove to the basket to score the game winning lay-up.

“When we got down it was still really early in the game and we didn’t panic,” Woldeslassie said. “Even if we get down 40 we are going to keep fighting. We did what we do best, just give it to Tommy and work off him, and that’s how we pulled it off tonight.”

Questioned whether playing at St. Kate’s would take away the feeling of a home advantage for the Scots, Conboy answered, “It felt as much like a home game as any game we had in the old stadium.”

A large Macalester contingent made the journey over for Wednesday’s game against St. Thomas, with the team trying to maintain a perfect record in the MIAC. Macalester held a slim lead for most of the game, and a Brian Ranwick ’08 3-pointer put the Scots ahead by three with half a minute on the clock. St. Thomas responded with a 3-pointer by Joe Scott, and once again Woldeslassie found himself with the ball with time running out. Again he made a drive, but this time he dished the ball off to Kraus to score the game winner.

Although the team beat perhaps the conference favorite in St. Thomas, the first two wins were equally crucial in setting the tone for the season.

“It’s important that one, we won both games, but also the way we won them,” Head Coach Curt Kietzer said. “It shows that no deficit is insurmountable, and for a young team it’s hard to know that when you get down you can come back and win against good teams.”

“It’s huge – if you look at last year, we lost a lot of close games, and tonight we got in a big hole and ended up winning,” Woldeslassie said. “It shows that we’re resilient, no matter how far down we are we’re going to find a way to win.”

According to Kietzer, the parity in the MIAC this season is extraordinary, with no particularly weak or dominant teams. The Scots won’t get to see how their hot start in the MIAC will continue until they play Concordia on Jan. 5.

The seniors on the team have continued to be a calming force to the younger players while also creating an abundance of scoring opportunities. With Conboy and Woldeslassie constantly being doubled teamed, the rest of the team has been exposed to open shots, many coming from 3-point territory, where Ranwick leads the team. So far the team has taken a wait-and-see approach, playing one game at a time. At the end of the season we’ll see just how far they manage to go, and so far it’s looking good.

“I continue to feel very good with the chemistry within the team, allowing the seniors to lead and take direction,” Kietzer said. “It’s early yet, but I think we’ve seen we have some of the pieces we need to compete up and down the conference.

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