On the rise: Long ball helps Jimmies knock off No. 25 Ashford for third straight victory
Breshion Tucker drove into the lane and threw up an off-balance shot, landing on his feet but with his back to the basket. As he came down, the ball bounced off the backboard and through the net.
It was just that kind of night for the University of Jamestown men’s basketball team.
Brother Brequan Tucker poured in a game-high 27 points and the Jimmies shot 10-of-17 (59 percent) from 3-point land to knock off No. 25-ranked Ashford (Iowa) 68-57 on Sunday at the Civic Center.
“Lately, I’ve been putting up a lot of shots and shooting the ball really well,” Brequan said. “I wanted to work on my 3s more. I think I shot a pretty good percentage today.”
He was perfect, actually. Brequan made all four of his 3-point tries and went 9-of-9 from the free-throw line. If there was a chink in his armor, it was the 3-of-9 performance on 2-pointers, most of which came on contested shots in the paint.
“He’s been fantastic all year,” UJ coach Justin Wieck said. “Offensively, he’s been really good and really hard to guard. When he’s making shots, he’s even that much better.”
He hit a dagger from the left wing with 7 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the game to push the Jimmies’ lead to 13 at 59-46.
Ashford fired back with its best stretch of the game, embarking on a 9-0 run to get within four with just more than 4 minutes to go. The game was beginning to look like the same second-half struggles would be the cause of another tough loss for Jamestown.
But Breshion Tucker’s off-balance throw-in was sandwiched by two free throws and a big 3-pointer from Mark Hoge off the right wing that bumped the Jimmies’ lead back up to 11 in the final 2 minutes.
“That showed our toughness right there,” Brequan said. “We dug in and kept moving.”
Ashford never challenged again, finishing the final 5:29 without a field goal.
“I wasn’t happy with either half — I thought we really did not play well,” Ashford coach Oliver Drake said. “I didn’t think we matched their energy or toughness at all.
“(Jamestown) came out and established themselves right away. They played tougher than us and beat us in all phases. You don’t come ready to go against a good program, you’re gonna get your tails kicked in, and that’s what happened to us tonight.”
Ashford’s final lead of the game came on Tim Huber’s free throw with just less than 4 minutes to go in the first half. The Jimmies answered by closing the period with an 11-2 run to lead 38-31.
Taylor Newton and Hoge both finished in double figures with 14 and 11, respectively, for the Jimmies, who finished 20-of-21 from the foul line to win their third straight and improve to 8-11.
“We have a good team, but our record doesn’t show it,” Brequan Tucker said. “We just haven’t put it together. We’ve found something these last three games. Hopefully, we can keep it going into conference play.”
Jamestown jumps into its North Star Athletic Association schedule on Wednesday, when it hosts Mayville State.
NOTES: The University of Jamestown football team was honored at halftime for winning the North Star Athletic Association. Also honored were safety J.T. Petsch for winning the NSAA defensive player of the year award and middle hitter Sarah Becker for being named NSAA most valuable player in volleyball.
University of Jamestown 68,
No. 25 Ashford (Iowa) 57
Ashford: Thaddeus Perry 16, Damon Overton 13, DeAndre Lowery 13, Anthony Woods 10, Tim Huber 5. Totals 20-51 3-13 57.
UJ: Brequan Tucker 27, Taylor Newton 14, Mark Hoge 11, Breshion Tucker 7, Matt Wingo 5, Logan Brown 4. Totals 19-46 17-20 68.
Halftime score: UJ 38-31. 3-pointers: Ashford 3-13 (Woods 2, Lowery), UJ 10-17 (Breq. Tucker 4, Newton 2, Hoge 2, Bres. Tucker. Wingo). Rebounds: Ashford 31 (Huber 7), UJ 30 (four with 5). Assists: Ashford 8 (Perry 3), UJ 16 (Hoge 6, Newton 4). Steals: Ashford 6 (Huber 2, Perry 2), UJ 6 (Hoge 2, Breq. Tucker 2). Blocks: Ashford 2 (Woods 2), UJ 3 (three with 1). Total fouls: Ashford 20, UJ 18. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: Ashford 15, Jamestown 14.
Records: Ashford 15-7, UJ 8-11.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or firstname.lastname@example.org