Isaiah Dobson didn't leave a single bullet in the magazine Wednesday night, and the University of Jamestown senior sharpshooter connected more often than he missed.
Dobson buried three 3-pointers in the final 24 seconds against Northwestern College in a late-season Great Plains Athletic Conference clash at Harold Newman Arena, but it wasn't enough to overcome an 18-point second-half turned in by the Red Raiders' 6-foot-7 sophomore Craig Sterk. UJ fell to Northwestern 101-98.
"We didn't bring it from the get, and when we start slow we usually don't finish too well," said Dobson, who nailed 6 of 10 from beyond the arc and posted a game-high 28 points. "It's a good conference. Everybody's here to compete and I love that."
The result was a blow to the Jimmies in both the GPAC standings and in the race to potentially secure a spot in next month's NAIA Division II men's basketball tournament with three conference games remaining to the regular season. Jamestown is now tied with Concordia University for sixth in the league standings at 9-8, while Northwestern holds on to third at 11-6.
Sterk's third 3-pointer of the second half produced the 13th and final lead change at 88-87 in favor of the Red Raiders with 3 minutes, 35 seconds remaining, and a Jay Small triple pushed the advantage to 95-86 with 29 seconds left on the clock. But Dobson's barrage of 3-pointers got the Jimmies to within 95-92, 97-95 and 99-98 in a wild race to the finish line.
Small, a 6-2 junior guard, converted 4 of 4 at the foul line in the waning seconds, part of a team-high 25-points, and a bucket by Keegan Van Egdom in the final five seconds sealed the victory for the Raiders.
A half-court buzzer-beater by Small to end the first half produced a two-point, 46-44, UJ advantage at the half, in a game that seesawed to the end behind solid offensive execution on both sides. The two teams combined for 28 3-pointers and both finished well above 50% from the field. Neither side led by more than six.
UJ's Terrell Alfred hit four 3s and finished scoring 22. Jack Talley also turned in four 3s and 18 points for the Jimmies, while Brady Birch finished with 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The loss snapped a four-game UJ winning streak. The Jimmies are at No. 1 Morningside on Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa, before wrapping up the regular season at Briar Cliff on Feb. 19 and hosting Concordia on Feb. 22.
"It starts with practice tomorrow, bringing it," said Dobson, whose 42 points scored against Dickinson State on Dec. 9 stands second in the Jimmie record book. "Other than that, we want to play. This is what we're here for. We love playing Morningside, we have a chip on our shoulder every time we play them. We just gotta bring it.
"But the key for us moving forward is just starting the game out hot."
Northwestern College 101, University of Jamestown 98
NC 44 57 -- 101
UJ 46 52 -- 98
NC -- Jay Small 25, Craig Sterk 24, Keegan Van Egdom 12, Trent Hilbrands 10, Isaac Heyer 10, Grant DeMeulenaere 9, Grant Rohrer 9, Christian Korver 2. Totals: 35-61 FG, 13-33 3-pointers (Small 5, Sterk 3, Heyer 2, Van Egdom 2, DeMeulenaere), 18-21 FT, 28 Rebounds (Sterk 6), 15 Fouls, 11 Assists (Hilbrands 6), 8 Turnovers, 1 Steal (Sterk).
UJ -- Isaiah Dobson 28, Terrell Alfred 22, Jack Talley 18, Brady Birch 15, Mason Walters 9, Jack Frazier 6. Totals: 38-66 FG, 15-29 3-pointers (Dobson 6, Talley 4, Alfred 4, Walters), 7-10 FT, 30 Rebounds (Birch 9), 20 Fouls, 8 Assists (Dobson 3, Frazier 3), 8 Turnovers, 1 Block (Birch), 2 Steals (Talley, Alfred)
Records: Northwestern 19-8, 11-6 GPAC. Jamestown 18-9, 9-8.