Rochester, MN - The RCTC Yellowjackets took on #7 ranked Riverland on the Performance Court at the Regional Sports Center in a battle of ranked opponents. In a hard-fought, back and forth game the Yellowjackets came out on top 77-75. The win was the Jackets second win over a ranked opponent in 5 days, as they dropped #3 ranked St. Cloud last Saturday.
Riverland took a 46-38 lead into the halftime break, as they knocked down 8-18 three-pointers in the half. RCTC got 16 first half points from Devin Melzer, has he controlled the paint on the offensive end.
In the second half the Blue Devils long range shooters turned cold as they hit on only 2-14 from beyond the arc. Offensively Jerome Cunningham found the hot hand for the Jackets as he went 7-10 from the floor and 4-7 from the line in the period for 18 points. The Jackets held Riverland to only 30% shooting after the break while they hit on 56% from the field on their end.
The game was tight all the way down the stretch as the Jackets lead 71-69 on a Cunningham free throw with 4:14 remaining. Riverland tied the game on a Terrell SMith jumper with 2:11 to go. Then with 57 seconds remaining Smith hit two free throws to give Riverland the lead. With 44 seconds remaining in the game Kong Kong was fouled and calmly went to the line to knock down two free throws to tie the game at 73. After a missed three pointer by Montrell Jacobs of Riverland, Kong was fouled again and hit 1 of 2 to give the Jackets the lead.
After a deadball out of bounds the Jackets Elijah Flenorl was fouled with 10 seconds remaning. He stepped to the line and knocked down both shots to give the Jackets a 3 point lead. Once again it was Montrell Jacobs with a chance to tie the game for Riverland with a 3 pointer. His long range shot fell short, but an offensive rebound and layup by Ibrahim Moohammad pulled the Blue Devils to one with .3 seconds on the clock.
Jerome Cunningham was fould on the inbound, then stepped to the line hitting the first, and then missing the second as time expired on the rebound.
Cunningham lead the way for the Jackets with 28 points on 10-15 shooting from the floor and 8-13 from the line. Kong Kong had 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Devin Melzer finished with 18 points on 7-11 shooting. The Jackets shot 51% from the floor while Riverland shot 38%. The Jackets outrebounded the Blue Devils 38-23.
RCTC is back in action for their final home game of the regular season on Saturday. The Jackets take on Minnesota State in a 3:00 start at the Sports Center!