MW MENS BASKETBALL: Buzzer-beater lifts BluejaysWORTHINGTON — There was next to no time left on the clock, but it was more than enough for Luke Roddy. With the clock reading all zeros, Roddy’s last-second shot dropped through the hoop, giving the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Bluejays an 81-79 win over the St. Cloud Tech Cyclones in a Southern Division men’s basketball game Wednesday.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — There was next to no time left on the clock, but it was more than enough for Luke Roddy.
With the clock reading all zeros, Roddy’s last-second shot dropped through the hoop, giving the Minnesota West Community and Technical College Bluejays an 81-79 win over the St. Cloud Tech Cyclones in a Southern Division men’s basketball game Wednesday.
“I heard the bench shouting for me to shoot it … I had no idea how much time was left, so I just threw it up,” Roddy said.
With 7.1 seconds left on the clock, the Cyclones called a timeout to draw up a last-second shot of their own in hopes of downing the Bluejays on their home court.
“Tyler [Aquallo] got the tip and I saw our team scrambling, so I just took off hoping they would throw it up to me,” Roddy said. “Jackson [Seitzinger] made a really nice pass right to me.”
Roddy’s game-winning shot was set up by Seitzinger’s 3-point basket with 30 seconds left in the game that tied the score at 79 apiece.
“Jackson Seitzinger hit a big 3-pointer there even though we were struggling with that possession,” MW coach Justin Heckenlaible said. “Jackson stepped up and made a big shot for us. He has been shooting the ball really well the last couple games.”
The Bluejays trailed by eight at the 8:28 mark after the Cyclones’ Jared Noonan (21 points, seven rebounds) made a 3-foot jumper to make it 69-61 in favor of St. Cloud Tech.
“We did not play very well tonight,” Heckenlaible said. “We missed a whole bunch of easy shots tonight, but we just kept grinding and plugging away and stayed with them. We knew if we could get a few stops, we’d have a chance.”
Minnesota West battled back, going on a 15-8 run to cut St. Cloud Tech’s lead to one with 90 seconds left in the game. During that stretch, the Cyclones made just 4 of 11 free throws and a mere two baskets after shooting the lights out from the free-throw line most of the night.
“They got to the bonus early, so we knew we had to stop fouling,” Heckenlaible said. “We tried to reiterate that to the guys during each timeout, but that is their game. Coach Cone does a great job of coaching those guys to do that.”
St. Cloud Tech increased its lead to three with 48.3 seconds left, only to have Seitzinger tie the game on his 3-point shot with 30 seconds remaining. That set up Roddy’s game winner.
The Bluejays trailed 45-40 at halftime despite shooting 39.5 percent from the field and making just 4 of 12 3-point shots in the opening frame.
“We couldn’t get shots to go early in the game and sometimes that affects our defense,” Roddy said. “We can’t let that happen, but sometimes when shots aren’t falling it is tough to keep up the intensity on defense.”
Minnesota West was able to spread out the scoring to open up the second half, going on a 17-9 run to take a 57-54 lead with 13:41 left. St. Cloud Tech fought right back with a 10-0 surge to go up by seven halfway through the final frame.
“The shots we were taking for the most part, aside from a few bad ones, were good shots,” Heckenlaible said. “We just were not putting them in, and we were not finishing. They were finishing and were able to get to the basket to finish those shots.”
Roddy finished the game with 11 points, while Aquallo led the team in scoring with 23 points to go along with seven rebounds for Minnesota West. Mitch Hopkins pitched in 10 points and five rebounds and Taylor Lupton added 10 points to round out the double-digit scorers for the Bluejays.
Minnesota West (10-7, 3-2) faces off with the Southern Division leading Rochester Yellowjackets at 2 p.m. Saturday in the first game of a men’s/women’s double-header.
“We didn’t play our best this game,” Roddy said. “So that will be motivation enough to get ready for a really good team Saturday.”
SCT 45 34 — 79
MW 40 41 — 81
Daily Globe Reporter Jordan Willi
may be reached at 376-7335.