The St. Olaf men’s basketball team took on Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. on Nov. 29, looking to continue its undefeated start to the season. The Oles led for almost the entirety of the contest and proved to be far too strong for the Wildcats, capping off a strong performance with a 77-61.
The encounter was tense early on, and the Oles seemed to have a battle on their hands when the Wildcats took an 11-9 lead with 11:52 left in the first period. However, Justin Pahl ’16 hit a three-pointer just nine seconds later to give St. Olaf a 12-11 advantage, and the Oles were in front for the remainder of the contest. The score at the break was 36-24 in favor of the Oles.
St. Olaf maintained its control of the contest in the second half, pulling ahead of the Wildcats by 24 points with just over five minutes remaining. Linfield managed to reduce the deficit a little, but St. Olaf was ultimately rewarded for a dominant performance by recording a 16 point victory.
Pahl led the Oles with 18 points, going 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. Sterling Nielsen ’15 had 17 points and seven assists, going an impressive 8-for-14 from the floor. Other key contributers for St. Olaf were Riley Aeikens ’16 with 11 points and Ben Figini ’16 with nine.
St. Olaf had three turnovers while forcing 12 from Linfield, a statistic that proved crucial in the end for the Ole victory.
St. Olaf will return to Bob Gelle Court on Dec. 13 in a clash with rivals Carleton College, in what shapes to be a vital MIAC contest. This will follow a pair of away games for the Oles against Bethel University Dec. 6 and Saint John’s University Dec. 10.