JC nearly pulls stunner: No. 7 William Penn avoids upset bidWilliam Penn University came to Jamestown undefeated and seemingly unstoppable. The Statesmen left the Jamestown Civic Center for their 11-hour ride back home unscathed, but just barely.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
William Penn University came to Jamestown undefeated and seemingly unstoppable.
The Statesmen left the Jamestown Civic Center for their 11-hour ride back home unscathed, but just barely.
The Jimmies had chances to stun the 14-0 Statesmen, but couldn’t quite pull it off in an exciting nonetheless 78-75 loss in front of a nice crowd at the Civic Center Friday night.
The Jimmies, who fell to 6-6, held William Penn nearly 30 points under their average, but late turnovers and a couple wasted chances to score proved costly.
“We just didn’t finish,” said JC head coach Justin Wieck said. “We did a lot of really good things against a quality basketball team, we just have to learn to finish out these close games. That’s the next thing for us.”
For William Penn coach John Henry it was a bit of turnabout. Last season in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the Jimmies stole one late.
“It was divine intervention for us there at the end, similar to last season where they got us late,” Henry said. “You’re not always going to play great. Sometimes a little good fortune helps. They played well, give them credit, but we survived.”
After trailing by 10 points at the break (39-29), the Jimmies put together their best half of the season. Their 46 points over the final 20 minutes included a 73-67 lead when Mark Hoge stroked in his 28th and 29th points in another fantastic performance with one minute and 55 seconds left in regulation.
From there, things got frantic both ways.
Breshion Tucker put the Jimmies up 75-72 with one free throw with 24.9 seconds left.
Statesmen ace guard James Devlin then sank two free throws to cut the deficit to one.
Both teams would turn it over on their next two possessions, but the second was costly for the Jimmies as Aaron Stemen was trapped in the corner, his pass was picked off by Taylor Stoutner, who laid it in to make it 76-75.
After another JC turnover, smooth-shooting Keith Steffeck knocked down two free throws to make it 78-75 and on the Jimmies’ final possession Stemen was forced into an off-balance three that was tipped.
The Jimmies played the final two minutes without Hoge, who had 29 points, and Davon Thomas, both of whom had fouled out.
“(Hoge) was phenomenal,” Henry said. “We couldn’t do anything with him. If he doesn’t foul out, we don’t win the game.”
The Statesmen got just two points from their leading scorer (Brandon Beasley), who was in foul trouble all game and got his fifth with 5:23 still to play.
“Defensively, we did a nice job. It was physical, there were a lot of fouls called, which was fine. It was a grind at times, but we kept fighting,” Wieck said. “We thought if we could keep the game in the 60s and 70s, we’d be right there. If it got into the 90s, that wouldn’t work for us. They’re tough to defend, but I was proud of how hard our guys played.”
Taylor Newton followed Hoge’s 29 with 16 points. Tucker had a nice game with 11 points and five assists for the Jimmies, who get a well-deserved break after playing 11 times in November. They don’t play again until Dickinson State comes to town Dec. 8.
“It’s been a tough month, a long month, but we’ve really improved,” Wieck said. “The guys are buying in to what we need to do.”
Devlin poured in 27 points to lead the Statesmen, while the 6-foot-9 Steffeck chipped in with 18.
William Penn had scored over 100 points seven times in their first 13 games and appear to have the firepower to make a serious run come March.
“Well, we didn’t expect to be 14-0, but we do feel like we can be one of the best teams in the NAIA,” Henry said. “We’ve played (five games in eight days) so clearly I’ve done a terrible job scheduling-wise, but to make the long trip here and get out of here with a win says a lot about our team.”
William Penn University 78, Jamestown College 75
William Penn 29 46 — 78
Jamestown College 39 39 — 75
William Penn University: Blake Walker 9, James Devlin 27, Brandon Beasley 2, Arman Rasul 3, Keith Steffeck 18, Taylor Stoutner 8, Lamonte Jenkins 5, Kevin Fay 6. Totals: 24-66 FG, Three-pointers: 11-24 (Devlin 4, Steffeck 3, Stoutner 2, Fay 2), 19-31 FT, 34 Rebounds (Devlin 7), 25 Fouls (Beasley 5), 12 Assists (Walker 5, Devlin 5), 18 Turnovers, 6 Blocked shots (Steffeck 3), 7 Steals (Walker 2, Rasul 2).
Jamestown College: Breshion Tucker 11, Taylor Newton 16, Davon Thomas 7, Mark Hoge 29, Andre Maund 4, Aaron Stemen 2, Beny Collins 4, Jesse Behm 2. Totals: 26-72 FG, Three-pointers: 7-19 (Hoge 3, Newton 3, Tucker), 16-21 FT, 47 Rebounds (Thomas 13), 25 Fouls (Hoge 5, Thomas 5), 11 Assists (Tucker 5), 17 Turnovers, 3 Blocked shots (Collins 3), 4 Steals (4 with 1).
Records: William Penn University 14-0; Jamestown College 6-6.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org