WILLMAR — Ridgewater's men's basketball team adjusted at halftime and battled back to beat longtime foe Rochester Community and Technical College 72-67 Wednesday night.
Down six at halftime, Ridgewater shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and outscored the Yellow Jackets by 11 points after the break.
Ridgewater will look to keep the momentum going with another home game on Saturday against Minnesota West. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.
"It's a huge win," Ridgewater head coach Darren Tighe said. "It's been a long time since Ridgewater has beaten Rochester so that in itself was big for us. They are one of the top teams in the league once again so that was great."
The Warriors got things rolled with a 5-0 run right off of the tip-off, prompting a quick timeout from Rochester head coach Brian LaPlante. That timeout seemed to work in the Yellow Jackets' favor, though, as they bounced back to take control of the half. They went on to win the half 36-30 after the Warriors' shooting, which is traditionally one of the team's strengths, went cold.
"We didn't see as many open looks from three tonight, and that's been the case the past few games," Tighe said. "Opposing teams are trying to take that away and stop us at the perimeter so went into the locker room and drew up something that we hadn't really done before. We were watching a bit too much so we got more movement and that relieved the pressure from Rochester."
The Warriors also began driving to the basket more, getting more shots from the paint and moving away from the three-point line.
"We call it 'bully ball,' " Tighe said. "We may not necessarily be as skilled or athletic but we're a pretty strong team so we muscled our way to the basket."
The new plan worked well. Though Ridgewater didn't see the same shots they're normally used to they relied heavily on guard Akeem Oglesby who scored 10 points and recorded seven assists in the game.
Though the Warriors were able to outscore the Yellow Jackets in the second half 42-31, they were forced to do so with a very different lineup due to foul trouble. For the second game in a row Le'Darian McAllister and Taylor DeLaughter fouled out. This required freshmen Matt Ringkob, Kevin Bryant and Jesse Vogel to play quality minutes down the stretch.
"Those guys were very active and moved around a lot," Tighe said. "That helped us out a lot."
Tighe said his team needs to work on foul trouble despite the success of the freshmen in the final minutes. Rochester took 29 free throws while Ridgewater only took four and Tighe said that could have been a big difference for his team.
As a whole, though, Tighe was happy to grab a win against Rochester which is something that hasn't happened in recent years.
"It's also great to defend home court," he said. "We loved playing in front of fans and it was a nice bounce back after the loss."
Ridgewater 72, Rochester 67
Rochester 36 31 — 67
Ridgewater 30 42 — 72
ROCHESTER - Scoring: Michael Cornelius 15, Malik Jones 10, Akeem Smith 10, Savion Benton 6, Kevin Lerma 4, Nick Ogren 3, Zeke Thompson 8, Gorg Alhag 8, Tyree Caruthers 1, Andre Smith 2 ... 3-point shots: Ogren 1, Alhag 2, Thompson 2, Smith 1 ... Rebound leader: Cornelius 8 ... Assist leader: NA ... Steal leader: NA
RIDGEWATER - Scoring: Jack Turnbull 21, Akeem Oglesby 10, Marvin Perkins 10, Jesse Vogel 8, Le'Darian McAllister 7, Taylor DeLaughter 6, Ville Markus-Milan 5, Matt Ringkob 2, Devin Fostervold 2, Kevin Bryant 2 ... 3-point shots: Turnbull 5 ... Rebound leader: Perkins 5, DeLaughter 5 ... Assist leader: Oglesby 7... Steal leader: NA