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Another big comeback falls short for MW men, 83-71

The Minnesota West men's basketball team rallied impressively in the second half against St. Cloud Tech in Worthington, but didn't come away with the win.

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WORTHINGTON -- For the second day in a row, the Minnesota West Community and Technical College men’s basketball team made an impressive comeback.

That’s good, but that’s also not so good. For the second day in a row Monday afternoon, they were defeated, 80-71.

St. Cloud Tech erupted to a 30-11 lead halfway through the first half and led 57-36 well into the second half at the Center for Health and Wellness in Worthington. In a road game on Sunday, West outscored Anoka-Ramsey 55-47 in the second half but were beaten 93-84.

Minnesota West Blue Jays Steve Ndumbe leaps past St. Cloud Technical & Community College Cyclones guard Jason Fagin (5) post for two points as teammate Jacob Dorian (15) watches from the three point line Monday afternoon in Worthington.
Minnesota West Bluejay Steve Ndumbe attempts a shot against St. Cloud Tech as teammate Jacob Dorian (15) watches from the 3- point line Monday afternoon in Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

“I know we’re a bit tired today. We played yesterday,” said West head coach Brian Stoebner. “It was the same kind of game we had yesterday. … We didn’t play right from the tip.”

But after trailing by 21 points in the second half, the Bluejays fought back to get within three points with 6:18 remaining. It was an impressive, spirited effort that fueled the comeback. But that’s as close as the Jays could get and they fell to 3-11 on the season.

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Minnesota West Blue Jays Sam Paulson's jump shot is Blocked by St. Cloud Technical & Community College Cyclones Lucky Moronge during Monday afternoon game in Worthington.
West Bluejay Sam Paulson has his jump shot blocked by St. Cloud Tech's Lucky Moronge Monday in Worthington.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

The rally began after Tech scored nine unanswered points to lead 57-36. Six-one freshman Bluejay guard Jacob Dorian made six straight points, then freshman Brody Sohn, a Lake Park, Iowa, grad, drained a 3-point shot at the 11-minute mark. Dorian hit a 3-pointer at 9:04 to make it 61-51 -- finally getting the Bluejays within 10 points. Cortney Ligon meshed a 3-point shot of his own at 7:26, and Tyvorus Lawton hit a 3 at 6:18 from the corner. With 5:42 to play, a free throw by Steve Ndumbe pulled West to within 61-58.

But the comeback stalled. St. Cloud Tech upped its lead to 10 points again with three and a half minutes to go, and there was no celebration for the Bluejays.

What the game did show, however, was that the Jays are a capable team if they play two halves of basketball.

“We get reminded constantly on how good we can be,” Stoebner said. “We’re small right now. So we gotta fight for our lives defensively, and everybody’s gotta take care of business. But we gotta decide whether we’re going to play for 20 minutes or play for 40. And the guys know we’re pretty tough to guard when we play together.”

It didn’t help the Bluejays that they converted only 10 of 20 free throws to Tech’s 20 of 25. The Cyclones out-rebounded West 52-41.

Dorian finished with a game-high 21 points. Lawton had 14, Jabril Muktar had 11 and Ligon had 10. Muktar and Sam Paulson had seven and six rebounds, respectively.

Five players scored in double figures for St. Cloud Tech, led by Tierre Davis with 18 points. Semaj Threats scored 15. Reace Anders, London Williams and Manni Ukutegbe all had 12 points.

“We showed we’ve got some heart, and what we can do,” Stoebner declared after the game. “When we move the ball and trust each other, we’re as good as anybody. But can we do that for 40 minutes?”

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St. Cloud Tech 44 80

Bluejays 27 71

ST. CLOUD TECH (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Threats 1-4-4-15, Anders 0-4-4-12, Williams 1-2-5-12, Ukutegbe 0-5-2-12, Asbury 2-0-3-9, Davis 4-3-0-18, 1-0-2-5. Totals 9-28-20-83.

BLUEJAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Lawton 1-4-3-14, Ligon 1-2-3-10, Muktar 3-1-0-11, Campbell 0-1-0-2, Paulson 0-2-1-5, Ndumbe 0-0-1-1, Bezoni 0-0-0-0, Sohn 1-2-0-7, Dorian 3-5-2-21. Totals 9-27-10-71,

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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