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Sweet Revenge: Jimmies return favor in beating Tigers

Jamestown's Leighton Sampson moves the ball under Dakota Wesleyan's Jason Spicer Wednesday at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 2
Jamestown's Sam Johnson gets around Dakota Wesleyan's Nygel Drury Wednesday at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

University of Jamestown's Jon Purintun found the sweet spot Wednesday night at Harold Newman Arena.

The junior guard buried three 3-pointers and scored 26 of a game-high 30 points in the second half, leading the Jimmies to an 82-78 win over 10th-ranked Dakota Wesleyan.

"That's just teammates giving me confidence," Purintun said. "They know I can do that, all year long, and I think just getting stops really got the energy going and that makes the shots go down easier."

Jamestown forced the Tigers into 18 turnovers—12 after the break—and none came bigger than senior forward Nygel Drury's whistled double dribble in the final 6 seconds with Wesleyan trailing 80-78.

The Tigers had just defeated the Jimmies by 15 points eight days earlier in Mitchell, S.D. The loss was Dakota Wesleyan's first of the season (4-1).

"We're averaging eight turnovers a game," Dakota Wesleyan coach Matt Wilber said. "Eighteen turnovers for us is about 100, and that was, for us offensively, the name of the game.

"But you've got to give Jamestown a lot of credit. I thought they were scrappier than us tonight."

The Jimmies overcame a dismal start, turning the ball over five times and converting just 4 of 11 shots from the field early. Meanwhile, the Tigers put together a 14-0 run to stake a 22-8 lead in the first eight minutes.

But after trailing by as many as 17, Jamestown's Leighton Sampson came to life in a big way. The 6-foot-6 senior scored 12 of his 20 first-half points during a 19-6 run by the home team to close the frame.

A bounce-pass from Jon Purintun to a cutting Sampson in the key was good for a two-handed jam with 26 seconds remaining, and the Jimmies had cut the Tigers' lead to four points, 39-35, at halftime.

Sampson ended the night with 25 points, converting 12 of 17 shots from the field. Purintun made good on 11 of 16, including 3-for-7 from 3-point range.

"We kinda leaned on Leighton in the first half and Jon took over in the second half," Jamestown coach Danny Neville said. "It was a good wake-up call for us (losing) down there. Just playing with a little bit more passion and intensity, but credit coach Wilber. He's a great coach and that's a great program.

"It's just a big win for us."

A Sam Johnson trey and a three-point play from Kevin Oberweiser helped the Jimmies tie the score at 43-43 less than 3 minutes into the second half. Neither team led by more than five the rest of the way, as Purintun took center stage.

The Tigers' 6-6 Jason Spicer posted 16 points to lead the visitors.

"We said after Friday's loss that we're one of the teams to beat," said Purintun, referring to last week's 81-80 buzzer-beater loss to fifth-ranked Northwestern. "We don't want to lose anymore. We wanted to come out here and prove to the nation that we can play with these guys and that's exactly what we did."

Jamestown (6-2) will be playing exhibition games at University of Mary (Monday) and Northern State University (Friday) next week.

Jamestown 82, Dakota Wesleyan 78

DW 39 39 -- 78

UJ 35 47 -- 82

DW—Jason Spicer 26, Nygel Drury 14, Trae Vandeberg 14, Ty Hoglund 10, Tyson Smiley 8, Aaron Ahmadu 4, Kellen Barden 2. Totals: 32-53 FG, 10-10 FT, 4-17 3-pointers (Nygel 2, Vandeberg, Spicer), 23 Rebounds (Vandeberg 8), 15 Assists (Spicer 5), 5 Steals (Drury 2), 15 Fouls, 18 Turnovers.

UJ—Jon Purintun 30, Leighton Sampson 25, Sam Johnson 8, Kevin Oberweiser 7, Ben Weisbeck 6, Christian Kvilvang 3, Isaiah Dobson 3. Totals: 33-59 FG, 9-10 FT, 7-18 3-pointers (Purintun 3, Johnson 2, Kvilvang, Dobson), 20 Rebounds (Johnson 4), 15 Assists (Johnson 4), 4 Steals (Purintun 2), 12 Fouls, 11 Turnovers.

Records: Jamestown 6-2. Dakota Wesleyan 4-1.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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