Golden Rams men’s hoops off to 2-0 start with many new faces

Anoka-Ramsey Community College men’s basketball is off to a 2-0 start thanks to some timely defense and last-second hustle to win the Milwaukee Area Technical College Classic Nov. 9-10.

The Golden Rams return three key players from last season, including guards Lucas Barraud and Jon Conner and post Henry Breedlove and introduce 15 new faces to the roster.

One of those new contributors is Montez Wilkerson, a second-year student and first-year basketball player who transferred from North Dakota School of Sciences, where he played one year of football. The Hopkins native played four years of football for the Royals and returns to the hardwood for the Golden Rams.

Anoka-Ramsey coach Ron Larson believes the early success will continue with this group.

“I like the chemistry and camaraderie and the variety of talent we have,” he said. “The kids have really responded well to the defensive structure we have in place.”

Early on in the season, defense tends to control a game more so than offense, which is the case for Anoka-Ramsey. “We’re not as sharp offensively as we need to be,” Larson said.

One change was Barraud moving from coming off the bench to a starting point guard. “It’s a new position for him and he’s handled the move well,” Larson said.

Anoka-Ramsey opened with a 77-75 win over Madison College Nov. 9 thanks to a buzzer-beating, end-to-end lay-up from second-year guard Barraud for the win. The Golden Rams trailed 66-57 with four minutes left before Conner made back-to-back three-pointers to spark a 9-0 run to get back into the game.

Wilkerson was named MCAC Southern Division Player of the Week and started his ARCC career in style with a game-high 34 points. Twenty points came in the second half. He was on fire making eight of 11 three pointers.

Another first-year player, Perri Vaden, had 10 points so did Barraud. Conner added nine points and four assists.

The Golden Rams shot 44 percent from the field, while the defense forced 23 Wolfpack turnovers.

Anoka-Ramsey’s defense shone Saturday, forcing another 25 turnovers and making 10 steals in a 70-61 win over Milwaukee Area Technical College Nov. 10.

Wilkerson had another strong game with 24 points on five for 11 shooting from beyond the arc with a game-high nine rebounds. He scored 11 of Anoka-Ramsey’s 14 points in the second half, making three straight three-pointers to extend a 33-31 halftime lead.

Breedlove made five of seven free throws for nine points and pulled down seven rebounds. Barraud added six points, six rebounds and four assists.

Anoka outrebounded the Stormers 48-38.

The Golden Rams’ home opener is set for Nov. 20 against Quakerdale Prep with a tip-off at 6 p.m.