Jimmies just miss: Late rally falls one point shortLate-game heroics have been a staple for the Jimmies this season. They did it again Thursday, but St. Francis, Ind., got the final break of the game and cashed it in.
Late-game heroics have been a staple for the Jimmies this season.
They did it again Thursday, but St. Francis, Ind., got the final break of the game and cashed it in.
Down 60-52 with 1:50 left in the game, Jamestown College rallied all the way back and went ahead on a driving bucket by senior guard Byron Jones.
But on the ensuing in-bounds play, Davon Thomas was called for running through a screen and it sent Spencer Comer to the line with 3 seconds to go.
Comer made both free throws.
The Jimmies had one final desperation shot attempt by Jones as time expired, but it was off the mark.
“I’ve seen a lot of teams in the situation we were in, down 10 or whatever it was with 2 minutes left, walk off the floor and take their beating,” JC coach Matt Murken said. “I’d much rather choose how we lost. Yeah it’s a heartbreaker and it hurts now, but we went down fighting and I’m really proud of our guys for that.”
After trailing virtually the entire game, Jones’ late-game heroics appeared to have sent the Jimmies into the Sweet 16 at Keeter Gymnasium on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.
His contested basket with 3 seconds left put the Jimmies up 63-62.
But after a timeout, Thomas and Comer collided and the questionable call went the Cougars’ way.
“We ask our guys to be aggressive,” Murken said. “We never fault them for being aggressive.”
The Jimmies trailed 29-20 at halftime, but outscored the Cougars 43-35 in the second half.
It was a fairly familiar script for the Jimmies, who were seeded 10th overall in the 32-team tournament, and finished the season at 25-7.
“We came out maybe a little nervous, made some trying-too-hard mistakes in the first half,” Murken said. “We regrouped in the second half and for the most part played pretty well. We gave ourselves ultimately a chance to win the game.”
St. Francis (22-12) won the national title in 2010 and advanced to the championship game last season before losing.
Mark Hoge led Jamestown College with 17 points. Jones added 16 and Thomas 12. Travis Burley, the Jimmies’ leading scorer and rebounder, and the DAC and AII MVP, played just 18 minutes because of foul trouble and fouled out with 3:25 left.
Despite being without their inside force for a big chunk of the game, they found a way to get back into it as they so often have.
“We asked our guys to keep believing, keep believing in each other and the things that have made us successful all season and they did that,” Murken said. “Forty minutes today or tomorrow or whenever our last game of the season was, wasn’t going to change the way I feel about these guys and what they accomplished.
“This was a great group of guys that had a very good season and represented Jamestown College the right way.”
NAIA National Tournament
At Point Lookout, Mo.
St. Francis, Ind. 64, Jamestown College 63
Jamestown College 20 43 — 63
St. Francis 29 35 — 64
Jamestown College — Travis Burley 4, Brandon Robbins 3, Byron Jones 16, B.J. Mertens 5, Drew Preiner 3, Davon Thomas 12, Mark Hoge 17, Jared Sutherland 3. Totals: 23-57 FG, Three-pointers: 5-12 (Thomas 2, Preiner, Jones, Robbins), 12-21 FT, 31 Rebounds (Preiner 10), 29 Fouls (Burley 5, Preiner 5, Hoge 5), 6 Assists (Mertens 3), 14 Turnovers, 3 Blocked shots (Thomas 2), 3 Steals (Robbins, Preiner, Hoge).
St. Francis — Scott Kohne 18, Spencer Comer 5, Kevin Dawson 4, Q Owens 16, Seth Small 6, Ethan Hussey 6, Daniel Palombizio 1, Kevin Bloom 8. Totals: 18-48 FG, Three-pointers: 5-16 (Owens 2, Small 2, Bloom), 23-34 FT, 33 Rebounds (Kohne 11), 20 Fouls, 10 Assists (Comer 4), 16 Turnovers, 3 Blocked shots (Kohne 2), 5 Steals (5 with 1).
Records: St. Francis 22-12; Jamestown College 25-7.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com