Marauders finish off Bluejays
The Minnesota West Bluejays used impressive offensive spurts in each half to claim leads over Minneapolis Community College Wednesday night, but the third-ranked (NJCAA) Marauders were clutch down the stretch, as they picked up a 74-69 Minnesota ...
The Minnesota West Bluejays used impressive offensive spurts in each half to claim leads over Minneapolis Community College Wednesday night, but the third-ranked (NJCAA) Marauders were clutch down the stretch, as they picked up a 74-69 Minnesota Community College Conference victory.
The Bluejays came out on fire, as they scored the game's first eight points in under 90 seconds. Daniel Archie hit a three-pointer, and also found Michael Riley and Alex Sudar for three- and two-point field goals, respectively.
Minnesota West (2-5 Southern Division, 9-11 overall) continued to shred Minneapolis' 2-3 matchup-zone defense, as Russell Griese drilled a pair of treys, and Sudar, Tut Yual, and Cornelius Bardney did damage inside to extend the lead to 22-7 with just over 15 minutes remaining in the first half.
"We came out and really executed on the offensive end," Bluejays head coach Justin Heckenlaible said. "We knew they liked to play a lot of zone, and we did a good job of attacking it, both inside and outside."
However, the Marauders (7-1, 19-2) started to heat up against West's 2-3 zone as the period progressed. Jim Wajda's three-pointer, and Bobby Harris' coast-to-coast steal and lay-up capped an 18-4 Minneapolis run, and brought the score to 26-25 in favor of West with about eight minutes to go.
The Bluejays maintained their advantage until Damola Obadina's offensive put-back basket gave the Marauders their first lead of the game, 38-37, with 1:12 showing on the clock.
Floor general Floyd Daniels sparked Minneapolis late in the half with two outstanding drives to the basket, including an impressive reverse lay-in, as well as crisp passing to his teammates for scores, as the Marauders remained ahead, 40-39, at the break.
The game stayed close over the next nine minutes, as neither team was able to gain a lead of more than five points, until Minneapolis used beautiful ball rotation to find a wide-open Obadina for a swisher on the left wing, making it 58-51 Marauders with 10:36 left in the game.
Later, trailing 66-53 at the 7:30 mark, the Bluejays went on a 14-0 run that lasted until 2:00 was on the clock. That spurt gave West a 67-66 lead.
Just prior to the run, however, was the play of the night, as Yual received a nice back screen as he cut to the basket and caught Kanir Jackson's ally-oop pass for a slam-dunk.
West then used man-to-man pressure defense to cause problems for Minneapolis, both in the full-court and half-court.
The Bluejays used their defense and the turnovers created by it, including forcing Minneapolis into a shot-clock violation, to ignite their offense.
With the score 66-53, Bardney scored the game's next 12 points before Riley hit two free throws, giving West the 67-66 lead with two minutes to go.
However, Daniels hit a jumper in the lane, and Obadina knocked down a perimeter shot to make it 70-68 Minneapolis with 47.2 seconds remaining.
Missed shots by Cameron Barlowe, Griese and Riley, coupled with two free throws each by Obadina and Wajda, and Minneapolis hung on for the 74-69 victory.
"We got back in it with a nice run there, but we didn't have enough to close it out," Heckenlaible said. "We played extremely hard tonight against a very quality opponent."
Harris and Obadina each scored 15 points to lead a balanced Minneapolis attack, as Justin Burgess (11), Jesse Olberdang (10) and Daniels (10) each scored in double figures.
Bardney finished the night with 18 points, with Riley (14) and Yual (11) also hitting for 10 or more points.
Minnesota West hosts Anoka-Ramsey at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Minneapolis 40 34 -- 74
Minnesota West 39 30 -- 69
MCC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Wajda 1-0-2-5, Daniels 1-3-1-10, Olberding 0-5-0-10, Harris 3-3-0-15, Bauman 0-1-0-2, Burgess 1-4-0-11, Obadina 0-5-5-15, Alm 0-0-4-4, Westmorland 0-1-0-2. Totals: 6-22-12-74.
MN WEST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Archie 2-0-0-6, Jackson 1-1-0-5, Barlowe 0-0-1-1, Bardney 0-7-4-18, Yual 0-5-1-11, Nelson 0-1-0-2, Griese 2-0-0-6, Sudar 0-3-0-6, Riley 2-3-2-14. Totals: 7-20-8-69.