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RCTC basketball teams sweep rival Riverland

Feb. 1—AUSTIN — The Rochester Community and Technical College men's basketball team entered Wednesday night's game with just one loss in Minnesota College Athletic Conference play.

That loss occurred on Jan. 3, on RCTC's home court, and against one of its biggest rivals, Riverland Community College.

RCTC left Austin Wednesday night having avenged that lone loss in MCAC play. The Yellowjackets did it in dramatic fashion, too, narrowly topping the No. 7-ranked Blue Devils, 68-66. The Yellowjackets' win also snapped a 21-game winning streak for Riverland, which lost its season opener, then rattled off nearly two dozen consecutive victories.

The Yellowjackets extended their winning streak to seven games and improved to 12-8 overall with what coach Brian LaPlante called a "big win as we avenge an earlier loss."

The two games this season between Riverland and RCTC have been decided by a combined three points; Riverland edged the Yellowjackets 64-63 in their first matchup, four weeks ago.

Wednesday, RCTC built a 43-31 halftime lead, then held off a hard charge from Riverland in the second half. The Blue Devils outscored the Yellowjackets 35-25 after intermission.

RCTC was led by Obinna Izuora, off the bench, with 16 points, while Blue Smaller scored 14 points and added 4 rebounds. Jamison Lien had 11 points and 9 rebounds, while Laden Nerison had 10 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The Yellowjackets shot 50.9% from the floor, including a strong 54.5% from 3-point range (6-for-11). Zach Herrmann also scored 11 points and 5 rebounds.

Riverland had the edge on the boards, outrebounding the Yellowjackets 35-30.

However, the Blue Devils shot just 41.9% from the floor and 30.0% from 3-point range (6-for-20).

Savier McCall led the Blue Devils with 25 points on 11-for-15 shooting (73.3%).

The victory boosts RCTC into a tie with Riverland atop the MCAC South Conference standings, both teams at 7-1 in conference play.

RCTC hosts St. Cloud Technical & Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday in another key conference matchup. St. Cloud sits third in the MCAC South at 5-3, and is 14-5 overall.

The Rochester Community and Technical College women's basketball team finished a perfect month of January on Wednesday by blowing out rival Riverland Community College 80-38, on the Blue Devils' home floor.

Austin native Cassidy Shute returned to her home town and had a strong game, scoring 17 points to lead RCTC to its eighth consecutive victory.

Riverland built an early 10-8 lead, but RCTC turned the tables and put the game away with a 24-4 run, which gave it a 32-14 lead.

No. 1-ranked RCTC improved to 16-2 overall and 7-0 in the MCAC South. Riverland dropped to 1-6 in the conference and 9-8 overall.

No other statistics were available from Wednesday's game.

RCTC returns home Saturday, when it hosts St. Cloud Technical & Community College at 1 p.m.