It's 'survive and advance' for RCTC men

COON RAPIDS — If Central Lakes’ shot had fallen, it would have meant the end for Rochester Community and Technical College.

But the shot with four seconds left missed, RCTC swept the rebound and made two clinching free throws to escape with an 85-82 win in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference/Region XIII men’s basketball tournament on Friday at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

"We didn’t play a good first half, to be honest," Yellowjackets head coach Brian LaPlante said. "We built a six-point lead (after trailing 44-41 at halftime) and led from two to six points but we turned over the ball twice in the last 13 seconds.

"I’m going to say ‘survive and advance’ on this one."

RCTC was the No. 2 seed from the Southern Division, playing No. 3 from the North, Central Lakes. RCTC improves to 23-5, Central Lakes drops to 15-13.


The Jackets advance to Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal game with Minnesota West, which upset the North’s No. 1 seed, Rainy River, 84-79 on Friday.

"We just played Minnesota West Sunday (winning 89-71), so we know what they have," LaPlante said.

Anoka-Ramsey, No. 1 in the South (18-10), drubbed Mesabi Range 99-69 and Vermilion rallied to edge Riverland 95-94 in the last game of the day Friday.

Jumah’Ri Tuner scored 24 points to lead Rochester. Naa’il Mahdi scored 16 and Ben Opsahl 13, while Tyree Caruthers had 10 points and 11 rebounds and Michael Cornelious grabbed nine rebounds.

RCTC shot 43 percent from the field, 9-for-32 (29 percent) from three-point range, and nailed 20 of 24 free throws. Central Lakes shot 51 percent overall, 6-for-18 from three, and 12-for-18 from the foul line. Turnovers were basically even, and the Jackets held a 40-28 rebounding advantage.

• Robert Parker scored 32 points and Deandre Raggs grabbed 14 rebounds for Riverland, which ends up 19-9 for the season. Vermilion is 21-8.

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