WILLMAR -- Sophomore Zak Pendleton made a runner in the lane as time expired Friday to give Ridgewater a hard-fought, 54-53 win over Mesabi Range in a battle of two unbeaten teams.
The Warriors (3-0) owned a 12-point lead at one point in the second half, but the Norsemen (2-1) battled back to take the lead late. There were five ties and seven lead changes as the teams combined to shoot 35 percent from the field.
Pendleton led all scorers with 18 points behind a 4-for-4 performance from three-point range. Sophomore Melvin Kromah added 10 points and six other Warriors scored, but none over eight points.
"We made some mistakes and allowed them to get back in it," said Ridgewater coach Bob Knutson. "It was a defensive battle and I know both teams can score a lot of points. It was a good test for us."
Spearheading the attack defensively for the Warriors was post Beau Herrig. Not only did the freshman pull in a game-high 11 rebounds and produce eight points, but the Mountain Lake High School graduate also held reigning NJCAA Division III Player of the Week Bacarius Dinkins to just eight points. Dinkins had scored 73 points in the first two games for the Norsemen, including a 41-point performance in their opener.
"Dinkins got into early foul trouble and Beau handled him," said Knutson. "I'm proud in how (Beau) played."
The Warriors will have three days off before hosting North Dakota State College of Science on Tuesday for an 8 p.m. game.
Ridgewater College 54, Mesabi Range 53
Mesabi Range 26 27 -- 53
Ridgewater 26 28 -- 54
MESABI RANGE - 21-57 FG (7-21 3-pt); 4-9 FT; 40 rebounds; 10 fouls ... Scoring: Davin Green 12, Elijah James 7, LaQuan Bates 3, Cavan Stackpool 12, Bacarius Dinkins 8, Frank Gutierrez 4, Jordan Villebrun 7 ... 3-point shots: Green 1, James 1, Bates 1, Stackpool 4 ... Rebound leaders: Villebrun 13, Gutierrez 10, Green 6 ... Assist leaders: Gutierrez 6, Green 4 ... Steal leaders: Green 3
RIDGEWATER - 23-68 FG (5-13 3-pt); 3-6 FT; 47 rebounds; 13 fouls ... Scoring: Melvin Kromah 10, Neil Helgeson 2, Terrance Lockett 4, Jake Rambow 6, Zak Pendleton 18, Jones Green 2, Jeremy Olson 4, Beau Herrig 8 ... 3-point shots: Rambow 1, Pendleton 4 ... Rebound leaders: Herrig 11, Darius Campbell 5, Green 5 ... Assist leaders: Lockett 5, Helgeson 3 ... Steal leaders: Lockett 2, Rambow 2, Pendleton 2, Herrig 2