Second-half struggles doom Jimmies
Things looked good early for the Jimmies in their home opener Friday night.
Unfortunately, the second half came around and the Red Raiders owned those 20 minutes and pulled away for a 76-63 win in front of a nice Civic Center crowd.
The Jimmies struggled to just 23 second-half points, but that was not what had coach Justin Wieck frustrated.
“I don’t know what the word would be; unacceptable, disappointed, probably embarrassing is the best way to describe how we guarded,” the second-year head coach said. “That’s something we work on every single day and then to play like we did tonight is really hard to understand.”
Their first-half shooting masked the defensive struggles in the first half. Mark Hoge’s 3-pointer with 2:40 left in the opening frame had the Jimmie lead at 37-28.
“Everything looks better when you’re making shots,” Wieck said. “But even when we’re not, our defense should have been able to keep us in a game like this.”
It wasn’t an explosive run that put the Red Raiders in control, instead they allowed just 15 points in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“We were fortunate to only be down five points at halftime. They were running wild,” Northwestern coach Kris Korver said. “It seemed like in the second half we played with a little more discipline. I don’t know if we did anything tremendous necessarily, but I thought we were pretty solid for most of those 20 minutes.”
Even though it was their first game of the season, nobody was surprised to see the Red Raiders right there when it mattered. Korver’s program is traditionally at or near the top of the NAIA.
“Ten of our 15 players are new this season to our varsity team, so anytime you have that situation you’re going to have to figure things out as you go to some extent,” Korver said. “It’s always a work in progress, but I think we did enough good things tonight that we can take and build on as we head over to Valley City (Saturday).”
The Jimmies made just 6 of their 24 second-half shots. Mark Hoge had 19 points, 6 steals and 6 assist. The Tucker brothers, Brequan (17) and Breshion (11) combined for 28 points.
“We got into a situation where we had guys trying to do too much individually and then it kind of compounds on top of itself once you start struggling,” Wieck said. “We found out a lot of things we have to improve on, clearly. We don’t have a lot of time to work on it right now, we just need to play a lot better (tonight).”
It won’t be easy again with Dordt coming in following a 100-point outing in a seven-point win over Valley City State Friday night.
Northwestern College 76, University of Jamestown 63
Northwestern 35 41 — 76
Jamestown 40 23 — 63
Northwestern: Zack Leeper 17, Gerasismos Mantalvanos 4, Justin Van Kalsbeek 6, Tyler Goldston 12, Keegan Mulder 6, Joey Habtemariam 10, Isaiah 4, Jordan Baker 14m Ryan Kliegl 3. Totals: 27-56 FG, Three-pointers: 4-13 (Mulder 2, Leeper 2), 18-23 FT, 37 Rebounds (Leeper 7), 19 Fouls, 16 Assists (Habtemariam 7), 15 Turnovers, 3 Blocked shots (Leeper 2), 8 Steals (Habtemariam 4).
Jamestown: Matt Wingo 5, Dan Janu 5, Brequan Tucker 17, Breshion Tucker 11m Mark Hoge 19, Taylor Newton 2, DeVonte Smith 4. Totals: 20-58 FG, Three-pointers: 8-24 (Brequan Tucker 3, Breshion Tucker 2, Hoge 2, Wingo), 15-23 FT, 27 Rebounds (Wingo 7), 21 Fouls, 14 Assists (Hoge 6), 17 Turnovers, 11 Steals (Hoge 6).
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com