University of Jamestown's newest starting guard is a motivated man of few words.
Allante' Pickens buried three 3-pointers on six attempts and tallied 16 points and three assists in just over 19 minutes Friday during UJ's season-opening 122-75 victory over Minnesota's Oak Hills Christian College at Harold Newman Arena.
A senior transfer from NCAA Division II Flagler College in Florida, where he buried 67 3-pointers last season, Pickens is here this winter to help replenish a backcourt that graduated three seniors off last year's 18-win squad. Pickens knows what it takes to win, having captured an NJCAA D-II national championship in 2019 with Iowa's Kirkwood Community College.
"I'm a winner," said Pickens, who calls Chicago home. "I caught on fast to what coach Neville wanted from me and I'm just for the team."
Pickens and sophomore forward Mason Walters combined to score 44 of UJ's 62 first-half points, helping the home team to a 62-34 lead at the break. Jamestown is 6-0 against Oak Hills since 2015 and has won all six games by at least 45 points.
Walter's owned the court in his 27 minutes of playing time. The 2019 Great Plains Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year finished with 35 points on 15 of 19 from the field and 5 of 5 from the foul line, along with 15 rebounds and a block.
"It's always fun playing with a big man that really can play," Pickens said of Walters. "He's a beast. Once he gets it on the block and he gets you sunk in, it's over."
Jamestown's 6-foot-11 junior Devon Schultz got into a groove in the second half, finishing with 16 points and six rebounds. The Jimmies outrebounded the Wolfpack 58-31 and shot 63% from the field.
"Just taking what was given to me," said Walters, following what should be one of many double-doubles in 2020-21. "Just got on the block and just tried to do whatever I could to help my teammates when they were open and they were feeding me the ball."
All-conference senior forward Jack Talley started and played 19 minutes for the Jimmies, scoring three points on a 3-pointer in the second half that put UJ up 84-45. Jimmie men's basketball coach Danny Neville said Talley's been a full participant at practices for the past week following a bout with COVID-19.
"Everyone knows what Jack can do," Walters said. "Last year, obviously, he was a big part of the team and (we're) happy to have him back."
The Jimmies played 14 athletes Friday night, receiving points from 12 different Jimmies.
"I thought we played hard and played together tonight," Neville said. "We really dominated them in the post, but give Oak Hills credit. I think they're a lot better this year.
"Someone like Devon Schultz who plays 12 minutes and has 16 and 6, so it's cool to get those guys some playing time," Neville added. "But I thought our main guys played well."
Jamestown's four-game homestand to begin the season continues next Wednesday hosting Presentation College. UJ invites Valley City State to town next Friday and opens GPAC play hosting defending conference champion Morningside College on Nov. 11.
"It's nice to be able just to play basketball, period," Walters said. "Just excited to get going, get these nonconference games out of the way and then looking for Morningside and be ready for a battle."
University of Jamestown 122, Oak Hills Christian College 75
OH 34 41 -- 75
UJ 62 60 -- 122
OH -- Doug Merida 20, Jesse Nawlor 15, Devin Session 11, DJ Johnson 10, Jon Nabors 6, Deontray Anderson 6, Alante Coward 4, Mason Jenkins 3. Totals: 25-77 FG, 14-38 3-pointers (Merida 4, Nwalor 4, Session 3, Nabors 2, Anderson), 11-19 FT, 31 Rebounds (Johnson 5, Anderson 5), 18 Fouls (Session), 11 Assists (Johnson 4), 11 Turnovers, 1 Block (Johnson), 4 Steals (Nwalor 2).
UJ -- Mason Walters 35, Allante' Pickens 16, Devon Schultz 16, Marc Kjos 11, Devan Praska 11, Brady Birch 8, Logan Pratt 6, Brock Schrom 6, Will Cordes 5, Jack Talley 3, Trey Wiest 3, Cole Woodford 2. Totals: 48-76 FG, 10-23 3-pointers (Pickens 3, Kjos 3, Talley, Cordes, Praska, Weist), 16-21 FT, 58 Rebounds (Walters 15), 17 Fouls, 22 Assists (Kjos 6), 12 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Schrom 2), 6 Steals (6 with 1).
Records: Jamestown 1-0. Oak Hills Christian College 0-1.