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Oh So Close: Kooima's buzzer-beater sinks Jimmies

Jamestown's Jon Purintun moves to the paint against Northwestern's Nathan Wedel Friday at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 2
Jamestown's Leighton Sampson goes to the net against Northwestern's Spencer Pauley Friday at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

Colton Kooima spared the Red Raiders a crushing start to the season.

Northwestern College's 6-foot-3 senior guard from Sioux Falls, S.D., daggered the Jimmie men's basketball team Friday night at Harold Newman Arena. Kooima banked home a desperation, half-court heave at the final buzzer, lifting the fifth-ranked Red Raiders to an 81-80 come-from-behind victory.

"It was all reaction," Kooima said. "Coach (Kris Korver) likes to let us go. It's a little Roy Williams UNC action—he dosen't like to call a timeout, he likes to let us play.

"I shot it a little early. We didn't really want that shot but it happened to go in."

Northwestern (Iowa) battled all the way back from a 19-point second-half deficit after trailing 41-30 to the Jimmies at the half. Jamestown played its best 20 minutes of basketball so far this season before the break, turning the ball over just three times and receiving 16 points from Linton product Jon Purintun and 17 from 6-foot-6 Leighton Sampson.

But Northwestern went to work in the second half, turning the Jimmies over nine times and converting 15 of 19 shots at the foul line to offset 27 total points by Sampson.

"I just thought we forced it a little bit too much into Leighton there," Jamestown coach Danny Neville said. "(Northwestern) went small and they were picking off some passes, but we did everything we could to win and just came up short."

Kooima went a perfect 6-for-6 at the foul line and scored 19 of his team-high 26 points in the second half. Kooima's game-winner gave the visitors their first lead since leading 9-8 with 17 minutes to play in the first half.

In the crucial final minute, the Red Raiders' Nathan Wedel scored six of his 14 points to help Northwestern tie the game at 78-78 with 32 seconds left to play.

Jamestown's Kevin Oberweiser answered on the other end with a fadeaway jumper that banked in from outside the left block with 4.3 seconds remaining.

But that just happened to be too much time for Kooima and the Raiders.

"He's a first team All-American, and he's also an All-American golfer," Red Raider coach Korver said of Kooima. "He found his hole in one.

"If he misses that shot everyone says, 'Why didn't the coach call timeout?' He makes it, you look like you know what you're doing. Kids make plays."

Northwestern (1-0) has returned four starters to a team that won the GPAC conference postseason championship last season. The Jimmies (4-2) host Dordt today at 4 p.m.

"You can't take anything away from how hard we played," Neville said. "We'll rebound and we'll be fine. It's early on."

Northwestern College 81, Jamestown 80

NC 30 51 -- 81

UJ 41 39 -- 80

NC—Colton Kooima 26, Derek Buysse 16, Nathan Wedel 15, Riley Francis 10, Parker Mulder 7, Chris Borhcers 5, Steven Kragt 2, Grant Roher 1. Totals: 28-62 FG, 15-19 FT, 10-24 3-pointers. 35 Rebounds (Wedel 8), 24 Fouls, 11 Assists, 12 Turnovers, 3 Blocks, 7 Steals.

UJ—Leighton Sampson 27, Jon Purintun 21, Sam Johnson 112, Kevin Oberweiser 7, Isaiah Dobson 6, Christian Kvilivang 3, Ben Weisbeck 2, Brady Birch 2. Totals: 29-57 FG, 14-24 FT, 8-17 3-pointers, 28 Rebounds (Sampson 8), 20 Fouls, 14 Assists (Oberweiser 6), 12 Turnovers, 6 Blocks (Sampson 3), 5 Steals (Dobson 2).

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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