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Mens college basketball: Bluejays fall short to No. 2 St. Cloud Tech

ST. CLOUD — The Minnesota West Community and Technical College Bluejays struggled to find an edge in a close mens college basketball game played at St. Cloud Tech Monday evening.

The Bluejays — trailing by just three points at halftime and doing a good job on the perimeter defensively — were unable to quench the Cyclones, who are ranked No. 2 in the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III poll. St. Cloud defeated Minnesota West (now 14-6, 5-3 in the MCAC Southern Division), 76-68. The game was postponed from Jan. 22 due to inclement weather. St. Cloud Tech does not have a womens basketball team this year.

The second half was back and forth, but still the Jays were unable to find a rhythm offensively, head coach Justin Heckenlaible said.

“You have to play well to beat the No. 2 team in the country,” he commented. “We had our opportunities with about five minutes to go but were just unable to make big shots at big times.”

West freshman Derek Buysee, a freshman forward from Marshall, led his team with 16 points. Bluejay sophomores Jordan Thomas (15) and Jackson Seitzinger (10) also scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Riley West led his St. Cloud group with 23 points and freshman Scott Nystrom tacked on 17.

Minnesota West’s teams will play at Western Tech, in LaCrosse, Wis., on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Bluejays 30 68

St. Cloud Tech 33 76

BLUEJAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — Buysee 2-5-0-16, Thomas 3-2-2-15, Seitzinger 1-2-3-10, Lupton 0-4-0-8, Bennett 2-1-0-8, Murry 0-3-1-7, Hodges 0-1-2-3, Bell 0-1-2-3. Totals 8-18-8-68

ST. CLOUD TECH (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) — West 0-5-13-23, Nystrom 3-2-4-17, Miller 1-2-2-7, Noonan 0-2-2-6, Billalaz 0-2-0-4, Bailey 0-2-0-4, Vang, 0-2-0-4, Rynda 0-1-2-4, Jikstra 0-1-2-4, Wiese 0-1-1-3. Totals 4-19-26-76.