Men's College Basketball: Robinson sparks RCTC in second half
AUSTIN — What a difference a half can make.
Chuck Robinson, Rochester Community and Technical College's 6-foot-6 center, had a definite tale of two halves on Saturday in the Yellowjackets' game at Riverland Community College.
Plagued by foul troubles, Robinson played just five minutes and scored two points in the first half. He also missed a two-handed dunk as RCTC, ranked second in the nation among Division III junior college men's basketball teams, struggled to a 40-38 lead.
"I just had to get poked a little bit by the coaches," Robinson said. "We didn't come ready to play."
Robinson definitely came ready to play in the second half. He scored 22 points and finished with a game-high 24 as RCTC outscored Riveland 92-78 to finish a sweep of the two-game regular-season series.
"We played good, but not to the best ofour abilities," Robinson said. "We kind of went down to their level."
"Chuck played well," RCTC coach Brian LaPlante said. But the coach was not happy with RCTC's overall play, especially on defense.
"We've got to get better," LaPlante admitted. "The pieces are in place. We need a little more salt and pepper on that soup."
But the RCTC offense was just too spicy for the Riverland squad to handle, as it is most teams. The Yellowjackets are averaging more than 90 points a game in the Southern Division of MCAC play and they hit that total again on Saturday.
"They have a nice team, they're second in the nation," said Riverland assistant coach Derek Hahn, who was filling in for Scott Koenigs, who missed the game for personal reasons.
"They've got 12 horses they can put out there and we have about seven or eight," Hahn said.
Robinson was the lead horse against the Blue Devils. RCTC held a slim 44-43 lead when Robinson scored 14 points in a 25-9 run early in the second half. He blocked two shots during one Riverland possession and also had one of his two dunks in the half during the surge as RCTC took control.
"He was good, he just made shots all game long," Hahn said.
Robinson was 11-for-18 shootingfrom the floor. He also led RCTC with nine rebounds.
"I just tried to post up and play hard," Robinson said.
Robinson was hardly a one-man show, however. Guards Jumarhi Turner (20) and backups Lavar McCullough (14) and Rob Claypool (12) all joined Robinson in double figures for points.
"Turner played well, Claypool played well and McCullough was solid," LaPlante said.
The coach didn't have problems with the offense, as the Yellowjackets won their 24th straight Southern Division game over the past two seasons. He was more concerned with the defense.
Riverland held a 44-39 advantage on the boards and had too many easy looks for LaPlante's liking. Lake City gradZach Hinrichs had his second straight strong game against RCTC with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-6 center made9 of 12 shots from the floor.
Guard Andrew Lau added 16 points for Riverland.
"We have so much ability to be one of the best defensive teams (at RCTC)," LaPlante said. "But if we played like this in the national tournament we'd lose by 20 points."
RCTC improves to 21-3 overall and 10-0 in the Southern Division. The Yellowjackets host Fergus Falls at 8 p.m. Wednesday on Fan Appreciation Day. Fans will be offered a free meal at 7:30 p.m.
Riverland slips to 10-13 and 3-7 in the Southern Division and might have to win its last four league games to earn a postseason berth.
RCTC 92, Riverland 78
Rob Claypool 12, Jumahri Turner 20, Lavar McCullough 14, Cory Speer 6, Rico Gunn 7, Mahari Wilson 0, Keiron Sauer 7, Jeffery Bonds 0, Chuck Robinson 24, Robert Ben 2, Alex Richardson 0.
Guillermo DeDiego 11, Andrew Lau 16, Bobbie Stephens 5, Tucker Kinniry 7, Goliath Oboyo 7, Gary Cook 10, Connor Andrews 2, Andrew Kaiser 0, Zach Hinrichs 20.
Halftime:RCTC 40, RIV 38.
Free throws:RCTC 18-25, RIV 16-25. Field goals:RCTC 35-67, RIV 28-70.
Three-point goals:RCTC4-16 (Claypool 1,McCullough 1, Speer 1, Sauer 1), RIV6-21 (Lau 3, Kinniry 2, Stephens1).
Rebounds:RCTC39 (Robinson 9, Turner 6, Sauer 5), RIV44 (Hinrichs 10, Lau 6). Assists:RCTC 13 (Speer 3), RIV 13 (DeDiego 4, Cook 4). Turnovers:RCTC 12, RIV 16.