Walters-Woodford combo leads UJ past Concordia
Cole Woodford buried three 3-pointers and scored 14 points after the break to help the Jimmies overcome a 17-point deficit to visiting Concordia University, Nebraska.
University of Jamestown men's basketball will need more than just Mason Walters to find success this season, and Cole Woodford rode in like the cavalry Friday night at Harold Newman Arena.
After playing two scoreless minutes off the bench in the first half, Woodford buried three 3-pointers and scored 14 points after the break to help the Jimmies overcome a 17-point deficit to visiting Concordia University, Nebraska, and scoot to an 89-87 victory in overtime.
The Walters kid? He finished with his 12th double-double in 13 games, posting a career-high 38 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks.
"Cole gave us a spark in the second half there, and this really shows our toughness and dealing with that Mount Marty game," said UJ men's basketball coach Danny Neville.
The Jimmies blew a 16-point lead in an 80-79 loss to Mount Marty on the road Dec. 5, but have now improved to 10-3 overall and jumped over Concordia for third in the Great Plains Athletic Conference standings at 6-2.
"Everything happens for a reason and we grinded out a tough one. (Concordia's) a great team. They're well-coached, so it's great to get a win against those guys."
The Bulldogs (10-4, 7-3 GPAC) started hot, burying 9 of 12 from the field -- 3 of 4 from 3-point range -- to build a 17-point advantage at 22-5 after a little over eight minutes. Concordia's Justin Wiersema and Sam Scarpelli would each finish 3-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc, with Wiersema collecting a team-high 19 points.
A 10-2 UJ run to close the first half -- spurred by back-to-back triples from Jack Talley and Marc Kjos -- slashed the deficit to less than 10 and 39-30. The Jimmies converted just 11 of 30 from the field and turned the ball over eight times in the opening 20 minutes.
Walters would go on to score 25 points in a monster second half -- which included the first three points of the five-minute OT -- but without Woodford, the Jimmies would've arguably been shown their fourth loss of the season.
After spending a majority of the first half on the bench with three fouls, the redshirt freshman guard nailed 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, tying the game at 71-71 with 2:47 remaining in regulation with his third deep bomb.
"I got in there and I felt like I couldn't guard anything," Woodford said of struggling in the first half. "I just couldn't get in front of the guys; fouling, I was frustrated. I knew I owed my team more than that and I just wanted to get a spark.
"I'm just happy we pulled it out in the end. Great team win."
Concordia took a two-possession lead at 76-72 with 1 minute to play before UJ sent the game to overtime from the foul line. Freshman guard Will Cordes and Walters both knocked down a pair of freebies in the final 41 seconds.
Walters' shots tied the game at 76-76 with 16.7 ticks remaining. The 6-foot-9 forward converted 11 of 16 foul shots in the game, attempting more than Concordia did as a team (9 of 12).
Ironically, Walters missed two free throws with the Jimmies leading 88-82 in the final 25 seconds of OT. Walters would've become the fifth Jimmie to reach 40 points with two makes.
"He just continues to get better," Neville said. "I'm proud of this group. We weathered the storm and we just kept playing, kept defending and kept getting stops."
Following a poor showing offensively in the first half, UJ turned it around by shooting nearly 60% (19 of 32) after the break. Concordia, who beat the Jimmies in overtime, 101-92, at Newman Arena last February, would lose Gage Smith (14 points) and Klay Uher (15 points) to fouls by the final horn.
Walters opened the extra frame with a free throw and a field goal, as UJ forced a pair of quick Concordia turnovers and shot out front 81-76 after two minutes. Kjos just missed a double-double, posting 10 points and nine assists.
"No. 5 (Woodford) played really well in the second half and Walters is a great player. Certainly, we had our hands full," said Concordia men's basketball coach Ben Limback. "I thought it was a well-fought game. We had an early lead, got off to a good start, but hand it to Jamestown.
"We just didn't make the plays down the stretch and Jamestown made the plays at the end when they needed to."
UJ finished the game outscoring the Bulldogs by 12 at the foul line. Concordia's Scarpelli hit a 3-pointer at the horn to make it a two-point final.
The Jimmies have now won six of their last seven and will host Hastings College (3-8, 0-7) to start the new year on Jan. 2. The Jimmies defeated Hastings 77-68 in Nebraska on Nov. 23.
"I think we just wanted it more," Woodford said. "I think we came out flat and that made us mad. We showed in the second half that we can come out way better than we did in the first half."
University of Jamestown 89, Concordia University 87, OT
CU 39 37 11 -- 87
UJ 30 46 13 -- 89
CU -- Justin Wiersema 19, Carter Kent 17, Klay Uher 15, Gage Smith 14, Ryan Holt 9, Sam Scarpelli 9, AJ Watson 4. Totals: 34-69 FG, 10-29 3-pointers (Wiersema 3, Scarpelli 3, Kent 2, Smith 2), 9-12 FT, 39 Rebounds (Wiersema 8), 24 Fouls (Smith, Uher), 20 Assists (Kent 5, Wiersema 5), 12 Turnovers, 1 Block (Smith), 8 Steals (Kent 3, Wiersema 3).
UJ -- Mason Walters 38, Cole Woodford 14, Marc Kjos 10, Brady Birch 8, Brock Schrom 6, Will Cordes 5, Allante' Pickens 3, Jack Talley 3, Devan Praska 2. Totals: 30-62 FG, 8-26 3-pointers (Cole Woodford 3, Walters, Kjos, Pickens, Cordes, Talley), 21-29 FT, 35 Rebounds (Walters 11), 15 Fouls, 23 Assists (Kjos 9), 14 Turnovers, 4 Blocks (Walters 4), 7 Steals (Talley 2).
Records: Jamestwon 10-3, 6-2 GPAC. Concordia 10-4, 7-3.