WILLMAR -- It was a game Ridgewater men's basketball coach Bob Knutson could only describe as ugly. But an ugly win is still a win.
The Warriors held off a late rally by the Concordia College junior varsity and won their third game of the year, 75-72, on Monday night.
"We played flat but we survived," Knutson said after his team almost blew a 14-point lead in the second half. "We're still young and we're still learning."
Ridgewater has won three straight after dropping its season-opener, and the NJCAA Division III team plays Division I North Dakota State College of Science on Nov. 30 in Wahpeton, N.D.
Hot 3-point shooting to open the second half helped the Warriors expand on a five-point halftime lead. But they often slid into stretches of not-so-hot play, on both the offensive and defensive ends and on the boards, said sophomore guard Eli Swen.
"We struggled a bit and that shouldn't happen," Swen said. "We're a team that can spark it up, but sometimes we get a little bit lazy and we let the other team get back in it. We have to clear that up."
Cody Warner led the Warriors with 14 points and 9 rebounds, and Swen added 13 points and 6 boards. D.J. Schrupp ended with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
But the Warriors were outrebounded by one, 54-53, and the margin was more pronounced on the offensive glass, where the Cobbers held a 28-19 edge.
Ridgewater can be thankful that as poorly as it shot overall (38.5 percent), the Cobbers were an even more dismal 32.5 percent from the field, including a very cool 8-for-27 from 3-point range.
Levi Abercrombie led the Cobbers with 26 points but needed 27 shots to get them. He also had 6 assists. Cobber Aaron Zimmer had 14 points but was 5-of-24 from the field.
"They out-hustled us in the second half," Knutson said of the Cobbers. "Luckily, we made some shots when we had to. We played well in stretches as a team, and we played well in stretches as individuals. That's what kept us in it."