Ratliff and Lau lead Blue Devil men past Minnesota West

Published 10:20pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Riverland sophomore Marcus Ratliff was on the Blue Devils men’s basketball team that slowly slipped out of state contention as the year went on, and he wasn’t about to let it happen again.

After watching his team lose two straight games in OT, Ratliff, who is from Kenosha, Wis., scored 21 points to go with four rebounds and four assists as RCC beat Minnesota West (10-9 overall, 3-4 MCAC South) 76-69 to move into sole possession of the third place in the MCAC South in Riverland Gym Wednesday.

With the top four teams advancing to the state tournament, RCC (11-9 overall, 4-3 MCAC South) is now halfway through its conference schedule.

“I can’t really explain it,” Ratliff said. “Last year we had talent but we didn’t play team basketball. This year, besides last game, we’re playing team basketball and coach is letting me be a leader. It’s paying off.”

RCC freshman Andrew Lau, who is from Glenville-Emmons, gave the Blue Devils a boost by hitting 6-of-10 3 pointers and scoring 22 points to go with eight rebounds.

“It’s starting to slow down for me and I’m starting to get used to it,” Lau said. “At first, everything was fast and I was getting used to the speed.”

The Blue Devils trailed by as many as seven in the first half but Zach Bunch drove for a score and Ratliff hit a jumper to pu them up 41-39 at the break.

RCC trailed 48-46 in the second half, but it used a15-3 run that saw Lau hit a pair of 3s to take the lead for good.

“This was a big game and it’s one step closer to the state playoffs, which have eluded Riverland for a long time,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said. “We played team ball and stopped finger pointing.”

Bunch finished with 15 points and nine rebounds for RCC.

MW 29 30 — 69

RCC 41 35 — 76

RCC scoring: Andrew Lau, 22; Marcus Ratliff, 21; Zach Bunch, 15; TJ Adams, 11; Goliath Oboyo, 5; Leigh Dean, 2; field goals: 48 percent (26-for-54); three-pointers: 50 percent (10-for-20); free throws: 56 percent (14-for-25); rebounds: 40 (Bunch, 9); turnovers: 11

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