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Iowa Central men top Bluejays at Classic, 75-67

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WORTHINGTON -- In what was a tight game all the way, Iowa Central outscored host Minnesota West 75-67 Friday night in a New Year’s Classic college men’s basketball contest at Worthington’s Center for Health and Wellness.

The Bluejays led 35-29 at halftime, surrendered the lead with 13:34 remaining in the second half, and misfired in their repeated attempts to make a second-half run.

It wasn’t that the Jays took bad shots. And they only needed a little spurt to get back in the game down the stretch. But the ball wouldn’t consistently fall through the hoop.

The Tritons led 57-52 with 9:06 to play. They led 66-60 with two and a half minutes to go -- still enough time for the Bluejays to get the run they needed.

But it didn’t happen.

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“I think we executed well,” said Minnesota West head coach Brian Stoebner. “We just didn’t make shots. We got good looks.”

Neither team shots lights-out, though West hit 47 percent of its shots to lead by six at intermission. The Tritons shot only 35 percent in the first half, which included a 1-for-12 effort from the 3-point arc.

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For the game, Iowa Central hit 41 percent from the field. West shot 34 percent in the second half.

Bie Ruei led West with 20 points while Kong Neyail had 15 points and Elijah Williams 13.

On Saturday (Dec. 31), the Minnesota West men will play a 4 p.m. game against Southwestern Community College, a team Stoebner said plays a very physical game. The West women play at noon against Iowa Central.

Iowa Central 29 75

Bluejays 35 67

IOWA CENTRAL (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Besh 3-1-2-13, Magee 1-0-5-8, Taylor 0-10-6-26, Tunender 0-5-0-10, Fant 0-2-0-4, Matthias 2-0-2-8, Branch 0-1-0-2, Blake 0-1-0-2, Wilson 0-1-0-2. Totals 6-21-15-75.

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BLUEJAYS (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) -- Ruei 4-4-0-20, Bruns 0-1-0-2, Neyail 2-4-1-15, Williams 1-4-2-13, D.Drent 0-2-0-4, Ndumbe 1-0-0-3, C.Drent 1-0-0-3, Daho 1-1-2-7. Totals 10-16-5-67.

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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