Walters goes for 33 and 12 as Jimmies down Chargers

Mason Walters made 33 points and 12 rebounds look ridiculously easy Tuesday night at Harold Newman Arena.

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University of Jamestown's Allante' Pickens directs traffic Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, while playing Briar Cliff at Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Mason Walters made 33 points and 12 rebounds look ridiculously easy Tuesday night at Harold Newman Arena.

University of Jamestown's sophomore phenom converted 14 of 15 shots from the field, 5 of 6 from the foul line, and also dished out four assists in just shy of 25 minutes hosting Briar Cliff University. The Jimmies defeated the Chargers 74-57 behind Walters' NAIA-leading 11th double-double in 12 games.

"I'm trying to fit into my role," Walters said. "This year I'm gonna try to look inside when I get my opportunities, and when (defenses) are doubling down just hit my teammates."

Walters didn't have to do much of the latter against Briar Cliff. Playing less than 10 minutes in the first half after drawing a pair of early fouls, the NAIA's leading rebounder (158) rifled off 15 unanswered points to stake UJ to a 55-42 lead with 10:34 remaining in the game.

Time and again, UJ was able to capitalize on Walters' 6-foot-9 height by exploiting mismatches in the post involving BC's 6-2 guards Jaden Kleinhesselink and Quinn Vesey. The Jimmies simply rainbowed the rock into Walters over the defenders at times, where he was rock-solid converting high-percentage shots with multiple Chargers rushing to contest.


Jamestown trailed 35-34 at the half with big guys Walters, Brock Schrom (6-8) and Brady Birch (6-6) all with two fouls.

"We kinda came out flat there the first half, but we picked it up," Walters said. "They were fronting me, so (UJ guards) kinda went to the high post, looked over ... it was working, so we just stuck with it."

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University of Jamestown's Marc Kjos dribbles around a Briar Cliff defender on Dec. 15, 2020, at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Birch opened the second half by drawing his second Briar Cliff offensive foul of the game and tied the contest at 40-40 with two of his eight points before Walters began to steamroll. Walters had converted 14 of 14 from the floor and 4 of 4 from the foul line before failing to convert a free throw with 6:16 to play and the Jimmies leading 68-47.

UJ led by as many as 26.

"I thought we made some good adjustments at halftime," Neville said. "In the first half, we were just timid to throw it. We were worried about getting a pass picked off.

"We told the guys at halftime, (Walters) is 6-9. We took advantage of the high-low."


Schrom finished with just two points but collected five rebounds and two blocked shots. Jack Talley was also back in uniform Tuesday, grabbing a pair of rebounds in eight minutes after an ankle injury sidelined the senior all-conference forward for five games.

"I thought Brady Birch gave us some really good energy in that second half and Brock played well as well," Neville said. "We feed off those guys. Brock protecting the rim and Brady taking charges; making hustle plays. We need that from our seniors."

Briar Cliff hit the ground running, banging home 5 of 6 3-pointers to start the game and leading by as many as eight points in the first half. The Chargers entered the night fourth in the NAIA in 3-pointers made with 125.

BC's Nick Hoyt and Ethan Freidel each knocked down three from long range. Freidel and Quentin Vasa led the visitors in scoring with 11 points each.

The Jimmies' senior guard Allante' Pickens shouldered the load offensively in the first half with Walters on the bench, scoring all 16 of his points before the half.

"I thought Allante' Pickens really put us into survival mode in that first half," Neville said. "I thought he did a really good job of attacking and keeping us in that game.

"They hit shots early, but we weathered the storm and came out in the second half, threw the first couple punches and it just went our way the rest of the way."

Briar Cliff head coach Mark Svagera knew the Chargers would have their hands full against Walters, who earned a third GPAC player of the week honor Monday. Walters was coming off a career-high four 3-pointers made in last week's victory over Dordt University.


"You don't stop him. You try to make him work a little harder, try to disrupt his touches a little bit, and, obviously, we didn't do a very good job of that tonight," Svagera said. "The reality is we're just a small team, and so we try to switch everything to increase some pressure and make things difficult.

"I thought we did a really poor job of making the passes in hard ... because man-on-man, physical matchup, we're losing that with pretty much every guy on our roster."

The Jimmies improved to 9-3 overall and 5-2 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. UJ hosts Concordia University, Nebraska (10-3, 7-2) on Friday (Dec. 18) at 8 p.m. Concordia defeated Midland 95-81 Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs and the Jimmies sit third and fourth, respectively, in the GPAC standings. Walters said he won't have any qualms over kicking the ball out to the Jimmies' plethora of outside threats to win games, which combined to convert a season-low 5 of 22 from 3-point range Tuesday night.

"We have so many shooters on this team that we're so dangerous," Walters said. "We're a scary group, and no one's gonna want to play us down the stretch."

University of Jamestown 74, Briar Cliff University 57

BC 35 22 -- 57

UJ 34 40 -- 74


BC -- Quentin Vasa 11, Ethan Freidel 11, Nick Hoyt 9, Carson Kruger 8, Jaden Kleinhesselink 7, Cody Hicks 4, Quinn Vesey 3, Conner Groves 2, Matthew Stilwill 2. Totals: 23-50 FG, 9-21 3-pointers (Hoyt 3, Freidel 3, Vasa, Kleinhesselink, Kruger), 2-9 FT, 26 Rebounds (Vesey 4), 18 Fouls, 17 Assists (Kleinhesselink 4), 17 Turnovers, 8 Steals (Groves 3).

UJ -- Mason Walters 33, Allante' Pickens 16, Brady Birch 8, Marc Kjos 6, Cole Woodford 5, Will Cordes 3, Brock Schrom 2, Devan Praska 1. Totals: 29-56 FG, 5-22 3-pointers (Kjos 2, Cordes, Pickens, Woodford), 11-14 FT, 36 Rebounds (Walters 12), 18 Fouls, 22 Assists (Walters 4, Cordes 4), 14 Turnovers, 3 Blocks (Schrom 2), 10 Steals (4 with 2).

Records: Jamestown 9-3, 5-2 GPAC. Briar Cliff 5-7, 3-5.

Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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