Halftime slows Riverland#039;s flow

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 6, 2003

Riverland's need to run the table on the second half of the conference schedule fell short Wednesday night, as the Blue Devil men's basketball team dropped a 94-81 MCCC South Division contest against Anoka-Ramsey at Coon Rapids.

The host Golden Rams (6-14, 3-5) outrebounded Riverland 42-32 and never trailed in the league game. The Blue Devils (6-14, 1-7) made a run to cut the gap to six at halftime, but were unable to stay inside single digits in the second half.

The three-point shooting of Andy Stouvenel and Adam Kasper got the Devils back into what was on its way to being a one-sided contest. Anoka-Ramsey got up 29-12 with 10:58 to play in the first half, but Riverland rambled off a bunch of points with some help from the three-point line. Kasper and Stouvenel each netted three three-pointers in the last 10 minutes of the half, and the Devils had the momentum heading into the break down by just six.

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"We kept chipping away," said Riverland coach David Lillemon. "We got it to six at half and I really thought we were in great shape because of the fact we had come back so well and really played hard the second half of that first half.

"We were right there, and we'd only gone to the (free-throw) line three times."

Riverland was down by six at the break, but Anoka-Ramsey rebounded and pounded the ball into the post. Ikenna Ezirike and Yomi McBean, last week's South Division player of the week, combined for 32 points -- all of which, according to Lillemon, came from the low post area.

"That was one thing we were really concerned about, their athletic ability inside, because that's where they score a lot of their points," Lillemon said. "And sure enough, that's where we got beat."

Riverland did the defensive job on the Rams' top scorer. Josh Klem, who single-handedly brought Anoka-Ramsey back to win a 75-54 game in Austin, was held to half his season average. Kelly Connaughty brought the defensive assignment and kept Klem to only eight points.

"We really shut him down, Kelly Connaughty had a terrific defensive game for us," Lillemon said.

Stouvenel's 6-for-15 three-point shooting led to a season-high 24 points for the sophomore from North St. Paul. Kasper was 5-of-12 from beyond the arc for 19 points. They were the only Blue Devils to score in double figures.

Sophomore Curt Peterson, a solid offensive contributor and the team's top defender, hurt his hip and played limited minutes in the second half. He will be reevaluated for Riverland's next contest, a home game Saturday at 4 p.m. against Ridgewater College (9-10, 4-3). The Warriors won a 90-64 contest in Willmar in the first meeting in Willmar on Jan. 15.


RIVERLAND (81) -- Kelly Connaughty 7, Curt Peterson 8, Adam Kasper 19, Calvin Morris 8, John Tillo 5, Andy Stouvenel 24, Jeff Roemhildt 6, Mark Skellenger 4.

ANOKA-RAMSEY (94) -- Craig Geyen 4, Daniel Liggett 2, Josh Klem 8, Jason Helmin 13, Kenny Brown 6, Yomi McBean 14, Wade Pierce 8, Jesse Hendricks 18, Ikenna Ezirike 18, Josh Lemmons 3.

Halftime score--AR 48, Riv 42. Field goals--AR 37-65, Riv 31-75. Three-pointers--AR 8-16, Riv 14-41. Free-throws--AR 12-15, Riv 5-7. Rebounds--AR 42, Riv 32.