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Men’s college basketball: Yellowjackets hold off Minnesota West

February 2, 2019
Opsahl

Rochester Community and Technical College made some the key plays down the stretch to slip past Minnesota West 70-67 in junior college men’s basketball on Thursday night.

The host Yellowjackets got a big 3-point shot from Goodhue’s Ben Opsahl to give RCTC the lead and then Naa’il Mahdi hit a pair of free throws for a three-point lead. Minnesota West had a final shot to tie the game, but it was off the mark.

“It was a back and forth game,” RCTC coach Brian LaPlante said. “We’re just a bunch of grinders.”

The game was tied 41-41 at the half and then RCTC held Minnesota West to just 26 points over the final 20 minutes of play.

“It came down to the difference of one stop,” LaPlante said. “And in the second half we just played better defensively, holding them to 26 points. We made some adjustments that paid off.”

Karmoga Lero led RCTC with 16 points and he added five rebounds and four steals. Mahdi had 14 points and eight assists while DaMichael Brown had 10 points and five rebounds.

Tanner Jonas had four points and seven rebounds while Opsahl had a strong overall game with seven points, nine rebounds and six assists.

“He was really good,” LaPlante said of Opsahl.

RCTC shot 41 percent from the field (29-for-70), was 5-for-21 from 3-point range and was 7-for-9 at the line. Minnesota West shot 37 percent (24-for-64), made 3 of 15 3-pointers and was 16-for-26 at the line.

Both teams had 45 rebounds and nine turnovers. RCTC had 25 assists.

The game mark the finale in the first round of Southern Division play of the MCAC. RCTC is 4-3 in league play and 11-9 overall.

The Yellowjackets travel to Austin on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game against Riverland.

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