Blue Devils pull away in second half
WILLMAR — Taylor Morgan returned to the lineup for the Riverland men's basketball team on Saturday and scored 29 points in a road win over Ridgewater.
The visiting Blue Devils only led by two points at halftime of this Minnesota College Athletic Conference, South Division game. The Riverland men then pulled away in the second half for a 76-63 win. This was their first division win of the season.
"We made some defensive adjustments at halftime and played tough man-to-man the rest of the way," Riverland coach Scott Koenigs. "Their leading scorer (Helgeson) had 16 points in the first half, but Jordan Osberg held him to only two in the second half. That shutdown defense allowed us to build a big lead in the second half."
Stretching their lead to as many as 22 points, the Blue Devils cruised to the road win. Denzel Smith added 19 points, before fouling out late in the second half when the game was already decided.
Morgan hit a pair of three-pointers in his first game back since the break over the holidays. The Blue Devils made eight treys on the day.
"We had a few guys out for this game and Taylor played real well to help us pick up the scoring slack," Koenigs said. "It's nice to get the first division win. That's a long road trip and the guys stayed focused for a big win."
Riverland (9-8 overall, 1-3 MCAC South) plays the late game of Wednesday night's home doubleheader at the Austin campus.
RIVERLAND 76, RIDGEWATER 63
Taylor Morgan 29, Denzel Smith 19, Jordan Osberg 8, Andrew Kaiser 7, Shane Barry 3, Zach Bunch 7, Wayne Canady 3.
Neil Helgeson 18, Jordan Schwarz 13, Adam Eyton 7, Zak Pendleton 6, Tyler Pendleton 5, Jake Rambow 4, Jake Ruhland 3, Jamie Bloonstra 2, Zach Henning 3, Cody Warner 2.
Halftime:Riverland 36, Ridgewater 34.
Three-point goals:RIV 8-20 (Bunch 2, Kaiser 1, Canady 1, Morgan 2, Barry 1, Smith 1). RID 4-19 (Helgeson 2, Z.Pendleton 1, T.Pendleton 1).
Free throws:Riverland 14-25, Ridgewater 13-24.
Rebounds:RIV 48 (Osberg 13); RIDGE 53.
Fouled out:RIV, Smith