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Jimmies run ends with 67-56 loss to Talladega in NAIA tourney

The Jimmies gave up 17 points on 13 turnovers in the loss.

Jimmies fight for the ball vs. Talladega
The University of Jamestown's Brady Birch, left, and Mason Walters, right, battle for a loose ball with Talladega's Kamron Brice, center, and UJ's Will Cordes (1) look during the NAIA men's basketball Round of 16 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, March 18.
Michael Savaloja / For The Sun
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There were three statistics that told the story of the University of Jamestown’s Sweet 16 game against Talladega College. Those three statistics were 3-point shooting percentage, turnovers and points off turnovers. The Jimmies struggled in those three categories losing 67-56 to the No. 2-seeded Tornadoes in the NAIA tournament on Friday, March 18, in Kansas City.

The Jimmies came into the game shooting 39% from distance, but struggled in those three key categories, shooting 19% from three and turning the ball over 13 times, on which the Tornadoes (30-5) scored 17 points.

UJBench celebrates
University of Jamestown's bench celebrates a bucket against Talladega during the NAIA men's basketball tournament at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo. on Friday, March 18.
Michael Savaloja/ For The Sun

The game looked to be all Jimmies (26-10) early on as they sprinted out to an 11-3 lead, before the Tornadoes’ Amir Yusuf hit a floater to cut the deficit to 11-5 with 12:15 to go in the first half. That floater started a 13-4 run punctuated by the Tornadoes’ Cam Potts giving his team their first lead of the game on a 3-pointer to put his team up 18-15 with 4:26 to go in the first half. From that point on, the teams traded the lead with the largest lead being a three-point Jimmies lead late in the first half to go up 25-22 and put a stamp on a 4-0 run. The Tornadoes stole some momentum going into the half as Markel Williams grabbed a rebound and sprinted up the floor where he spotted up from deep to send his team into the locker rooms up 26-25.

Jimmies head coach Danny Neville said that Williams’ shot gave the Tornadoes energy going into halftime.

“I thought that was huge,” Neville said. “I thought that really sparked them going into the locker room. We misread a play on offense and didn’t come up on defense to contest that shot.”

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The teams continued to be tight in the second half but the Jimmies were unable to make much headway, with their last lead coming on a Will Cordes reverse layup to go up 31-30 with 14 minutes to go in the game. The Tornadoes would respond with Camron Reese catching a fastbreak pass and slamming it home to put the emphasis on a 9-1 run over the next four minutes to take a 40-32 lead.

The Jimmies would fight back into the game however, with Devon Schultz grabbing an offensive board, and drawing the and-one opportunity, eliciting a scream from the senior as he cut the deficit to 45-40 with 5:16 to go in the game. Over the last five minutes, the Tornadoes put the game out of reach ending the game on a 22-16 run.

Kjos dribbles
University of Jamestown's Marc Kjos drives past Talladega's Davion "Tree" Thomas during the NAIA men's basketball Round of 16 in Kansas City on Friday, March 18.
Michael Savaloja / For The Sun

The Jimmies’ Mason Walters finished with 17 and the Tornadoes’ Cam Potts led all scorers with 21 points.

The Jimmies will be returning 11 players next season, which Neville hopes will be fueled by this loss heading into next year.

“I hope a lot,” Neville said. “We wanted to win a couple more but that’s just how it goes. Hopefully the offseason really sparks them.”

UJ 56, TC 67

UJ: 25 31–56

TC: 26 41–67

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Points leaders:

UJ: Mason Walters 17, Will Cordes 11, Devon Schultz 9

TC: Cam Potts 21, Darryl Baker 13, Amir Yusuf 12

Assists leaders:

UJ: Marc Kjos 7, Cole Woodford 3, Schultz 2

TC: Potts 4, Kamron Brice 1

Leading rebounders:

UJ: Kjos 8, Schultz 8, Walters 7

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TC: Yusuf 9, Green 7, Potts 5

UJ Fans
University of Jamestown fans cheer on the Jimmies during the NAIA men's basketball tournament in Kansas City on Friday, March 18.
Michael Savaloja / For The Sun

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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