University of Jamestown men's basketball doesn't lack a killer instinct this season, and it's making for some rather exciting play.
Jamestown senior guard Kevin Oberweiser dove flat out across the half-court line for a steal Saturday night with the Jimmies leading Concordia University (Neb.) by 23 late in the second half at Harold Newman Arena.
Oberweiser's effort eventually put the ball into the hands of UJ sophomore Brock Shrom, who'd cap the play of the night with a dunk in transition to give the home team an 85-60 advantage with 4 minutes to play. The 21st-ranked Jimmies rolled 95-68 over the Bulldogs.
"We struggled with toughness and hustle in the past couple games, and that's kinda been our identity to get us where we're at right now," said Oberweiser, who finished 5 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc and scored a game-high 24 points. "So, we're just trying to get back and find that."
A UJ victory at Doane University on Jan. 12 in Crete, Neb., was sandwiched between a pair of 16-point losses entering the game, the first at No. 7 Briar Cliff on Jan. 9 and the second at NCAA Division II University of Minnesota-Crookston in exhibition play last Tuesday. But it didn't take long for the Jimmies (19-4, 9-4 GPAC) to prove why they had already won 18 contests.
Junior point guard Isaiah Dobson, who has been dealing with soreness in his left foot the past couple seasons, buried a 3-pointer to open the scoring and then found senior Jon Purintun for a 3 from the right baseline on UJ's next possession. Jamestown started the game with a 10-0 run, holding the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the first 4 minutes.
Dobson has missed two starts this season while giving his foot rest, but his energy and court vision make a difference. Dobson got into foul trouble in the second half Saturday but managed three assists and a steal in less than 20 minutes.
"Energizer Bunny for us all year," Oberweiser said of Dobson. "For sure, love having him out there."
Dobson also buried a 25-footer from the the right wing with 3:50 left in the first half to give the Jimmies a 15-point advantage at 35-20. The Jimmies went 11 of 19 from downtown in the game. Purintun converted 2 of 2 from long range and finished scoring 20.
"We just had to get it started," Dobson said. "We've been playing kinda slow the last three games, so we wanted to get out to a good start-play with a lot of energy. Like Kevin said: Energizer Bunny.
"Kevin diving on the floor right there? That's what we're all about."
The Jimmies' top-10 scoring offensive in NAIA Division II tends to overshadow the team's defensive effort at times. But not against the Bulldogs.
UJ held Concordia to less than 30 points at the half (48-28) and help-side defenders swarmed all evening. Oberweiser and junior Terrell Alfred each came away with steals in the lane in the first half while sagging to the basketball.
The Jimmies turned the Bulldogs over 16 times.
"Guys were locked into the scout," said UJ head men's basketball coach Danny Neville. "There were not many missed coverages in this game. We were just locked in and ready to play, and when we're doing that we're pretty good."
Oberweiser and Purintun shared the role of closer in the second half. Oberweiser hit three 3s and scored 15, while Purintun dropped in 11 in the runaway victory. Schrom would fill the stat sheet with 14 points, seven rebounds and five blocks, while fellow sophomore post Brady Birch was the fourth Jimmie in double-digit scoring with11.
Brevin Sloup led the Bulldogs scoring 16. UJ is at Mount Marty College (6-17) on Wednesday in Yankton, S.D.
"We talked the whole week about coming out and playing hard and being us," Neville said. "I think we really did that tonight, and credit our seniors-and everybody-diving on the floor and doing all the little things."
(21) Jamestown 95, Concordia 68
CC 28 40 -- 68
UJ 48 47 -- 95
CC-Brevin Sloup 16, Justin Wiersema 9, Tanner Shuck 9, Sammy Adjei 9, Chuol Biel 8, Carter Kent 7, Grant Wragge 6, Tanner Wubbels 2, Gage Smith 2. Totals: 24-56 FT, 5-17 3-pointers (Sloup 3, Wiersema, Shuck), 15-20 FT, 31 Rebounds (Adjei 7), 18 Fouls, 7 Assists (3 with 2), 16 Turnovers, 1 Block, 5 Steals.
UJ-Kevin Oberweiser 24, Jon Purintun 20, Brock Schrom 14, Brady Birch 11, Jack Frazier 9, Jack Talley 8, Isaiah Dobson 6, Terrell Alfred 3. Totals: 35-59 FG, 11-19 3-pointers (Oberweiser 5, Dobson 2, Purintun 2, Frazier, Alfred), 14-18 FT, 31 Rebounds (Talley 7, Schrom 7), 21 Fouls, 18 Assists (Dobson 3, Purintun 3, Alfred 3), 12 Turnovers, 6 Blocks (Schrom 5), 8 Steals (Oberweiser 2).
Records: UJ 19-4, 9-4 GPAC. CC 11-11, 4-10.