Crown College Storm thunders past men’s basketball, 68-65

Crown College Storm thunders past mens basketball, 68-65

Lily Denehy, Managing Editor

On Wednesday, Nov. 17, in front of a boisterous Macalester crowd, the Scots fell to Crown College 65-68 in a back and forth game. Their record fell to 3-2 overall, as the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) has not started conference play yet. The Scots started the season with a three-game winning streak, but this loss and their loss to North Central University on Nov. 13 leaves the team clinging to their winning record. Macalester begins MIAC play on Nov. 20 with a home game against St. Mary’s University.

Crown College came to St. Paul with a 2-3 record, after three straight losses — including one exhibition game. Their win against the Scots improves them to a 3-3.

The Scots started the game strong, leading through the first 10 minutes off early layups from Shane Anderson ’22 and several points from Coby Gold ’25. By the end of those 10 minutes, however, the Storm shrunk the Macalester lead, 10 points at its height, to just one. Then Crown lept to a lead it would not relinquish until the end of the first half.

Macalester did not let the setback faze them, pushing to tie up the game at 28-28 with just under three minutes left in the half. Gold and Caleb Williams ’24 led the charge, with Williams tying the game off a three-pointer.

Despite their efforts, the Storm rallied, going on an eight-point run to lead 36-28 with 46 second left in the first half. Jack Hernandez ’25 sank a jumper that brought the Scots to thirty points, but the Storm led 39-30 heading into the second half.

The Scots returned to the court for the second half running a full court press and passing at dizzying speeds. Even with their fast-paced play, the Storm maintained their ten point lead after four minutes, 46-36. Head coach Abe Woldeslassie ’08 subbed in a new squad, and the team began to pivot towards the lead. Williams and Tom Andreae ’24 led the charge putting up six points total with Williams breaking the tie to give the Scots a 48-46 lead. With 12 minutes left to play, however, the game was far from over.

Williams added five more points before the Storm recouped to snag the lead with just over six minutes left. Anderson added a jumper to tilt the scale back to Macalester, 57-56. A minute later, Crown regained the lead; they would not fall behind again.

The Scots tried to thunder back to no avail. Williams tied the game 63-63 with 1:13 left, but the Storm surged back to win 68-65, though a last-ditch Macalester effort with barely a second left kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Throughout the game, the sometimes rowdy Macalester crowd heckled the referees, cheered on the Macalester defense along with the basketball team and booed the Storm during free throws and halftime. Just under 200 Scots filled the bleachers, but they seemed to flood the court every time the Scots made a dramatic play.

The Scots have a young team, but with stalwart senior leaders Eric Sathy ’22 and Anderson, they are developing a strong core group. Williams, Gold, and Robert Grace IV ’25 lead the team as quick-paced guards. 

On Wednesday, Williams showed up big, scoring 25 points with Gold adding 11 points and three assists. Grace has been a top scorer at other games this season sinking 13 points against the University of Minnesota-Morris and 15 in the loss to North Central. 

Outside of scoring, both Gold and Grace are top defenders on the team, often adding at least 2 steals every game, though Sathy’s five steals against Morris are a team high. Gold also often leads the team in assists, feeding the ball down to the posts and other guards. On Wednesday, Grace led the team with five assists. Anderson, Williams, and Gold lead in rebounds, with several other players on the team chipping in.

Although they have a promising group of young players, the Scots still have a ways to go in order to win in the MIAC. The departure of St. Thomas University for Division I will shake up the top of the MIAC, Macalester finished the last full season, 2019-20, with a 5-15 conference record and missed out on the NCAA playoffs. The Scots, in fact, have not finished with a winning record since the 2003-04 season when they went 18-9 overall.

Even without the wins, the team is active off-court, and draws some of the largest crowds for Macalester sports. Before and during their Wednesday game, the Scots collected donations in partnership with the Civic Engagement Center for the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul. They have also sponsored supply and food drives over the past year and a half, including meal packing at Second Harvest and a supply drive for the Hamline-Midway-University neighborhoods in the wake of the 2020 racial justice uprisings in the Twin Cities.

With MIAC competition starting on Saturday, the Scots will look to turn away from their recent losses and focus on getting back to winning. They return to action on Nov. 20 in the Alumni Gym against St. Mary’s at 3 p.m.

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