Jimmies cruise to victory
After nearly a month of hard knocks, the Jimmie men’s basketball team got back into the win column at the Jamestown Civic Center on Friday night.
The Jimmies used a dominant 49-point second half en route to upending the visiting Crossroads College Knights 91-56. It was the University of Jamestown’s first victory since Oct. 19.
“We got our win and that’s what we needed,” Jimmie senior All-American guard Mark Hoge said. “We’ve just been trying to get that win under our belts so we could get going. We know if we can play our game we can win.”
Hoge had plenty of say in Friday night’s outcome. He went 7-of-8 from downtown for a game-high 21 points, while also dishing out nine assists and collecting a trio of steals.
The Jimmie standout went 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the first half, helping the Jimmies stake a 42-31 lead at the break. The home team came out hot hitting its first six shots from the floor, highlighted by three-pointers from Hoge and sophomore Brequan Tucker to jump ahead 15-3 just under 4 minutes in.
The Jimmies shot 53 percent from the floor and a blistering 61 percent from the three-point line in the game.
“They shot the ball really well. Hoge is an All-American for a reason,” Crossroads College first-year head coach Richard Westerlund said. “I think the big problem was our transition defense and our one-shot offense. We’ve got to look to get it into the paint a little bit better.”
Hoge opened the second half with two more threes to put the Jimmies out front 48-35, and then junior guard Taylor Newton came alive. The Tyler, Minn., native hit three second-half treys and also converted a three-point play to help the Jimmies eventually balloon their lead to as many as 37 points.
“It was just one of those days. I was feeling it, so I kept shooting it,” Hoge said. “They were playing the zone, so I knew nobody was going to be on me like they are every game. If I had the opening I just let her fly.”
The Jimmies forced the Knights into 24 turnovers, 17 of which occurred in the second half. The Knights were also heavily outrebounded 37-26 in what turned into a nice team effort by the Jimmies.
“We’ve really had to work on our second halves and how we come out of the locker room, and I thought our guys did a pretty good job,” Jimmie head coach Justin Wieck said. “We’ve got a long ways to go, but it was good to see some carry over from practice on the defensive end.
“I’ve said a lot that we’re really close to being a good team. We haven’t quite got there yet, but today was the first step.”
The Jimmies (3-4) had lost their past four contests, not including a pair of exhibition losses that also occurred during that span to Division I New Mexico and Division II Northern State University.
The Jimmies fell to Northern State 78-73 on Tuesday in what was the team’s best defensive effort prior to Friday’s win over the Knights. During those four regular-season games and two exhibition contests, the Jimmies allowed nearly 90 points to the opposition.
The team has been squarely focused on shoring up its defensive play, as well as trying to overcome its trend of slow second-half play.
“We’ve just had to finish, and that’s something we’ve been working on all week this week is finishing in practice,” Hoge said. “We’ve been flat coming out in the second half. In the second half (tonight) we came out really well, and everyone played really good defense.”
The Jimmies also appeared to have polished up the new strict enforcement of hand-checking. The Jimmies committed just 12 fouls against the Knights, and they didn’t send Crossroads College to the free-throw line over the entire first half.
The Jimmies started out the season with a 112-91 win over Crossroads College at the Mayville Classic back on Oct. 18.
“This is a team that scored 91 on us just a month ago, and they’ve got a lot of guys that can really get going if you let them get going,” Wieck said. “So I thought our guys did a good job committing to what we’re trying to get better at on the defensive end. Offense hasn’t been our problem … but I feel like our guys took their first step on the defensive end.”
Newton finished with 12 points, while Breshion Tucker also hit double figures with 11 for the Jimmies. DeVonte Smith just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 boards.
The Knights (0-8) were led by Shayne Anderson with 17 points and 10 assists.
The Jimmies head to Division II Minnesota State-Mankato on Sunday, before hosting three home games next week starting with Dickinson State on Wednesday.
“We have an exhibition on Sunday, and I expect our guys to play hard, but then after that we’ve got three big home games next week,” Wieck said. “(Those games) are going to go a long ways in determining which route this season goes.”
University of Jamestown 91, Crossroads College 56
Crossroads 31 25 — 56
Jamestown 42 49 — 91
Crossroads — Shayne Anderson 17, Andy Carson 15, A.J. Kuhn 8, Richard Dukes 8, Brandon Jackson 4, DeAndre Robinson 2, Eldrick Alexander 2. Totals: 24-55 FG, 5-15 three-pointers, 3-4 FT. Rebounds: 26 (Carson 7). Fouls: 15. Assists: 17 (Anderson 10). Turnovers: 24. Steals: 6 (Robinson 2, Anderson 2).
Jamestown — Mark Hoge 21, Taylor Newtown 12, Breshion Tucker 11, DeVonte Smith 9, Matt Wingo 8, Mark Potter 6, Austin Giese 6, Brequan Tucker 5, Jake Hagler 5, Logan Brown 4, Dan Janu 4. Totals: 32-61 FG, 14-23 three-pointers, 13-17 FT. Rebounds: 37 (Smith 10). Fouls: 12. Assists: 24 (Hoge 9). Turnovers: 15. Steals: 10 (Hoge 3, Janu 3).
Records: University of Jamestown 3-4; Crossroads College 0-8.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at 701-952-8461 or by email at email@example.com