Jimmies hang on
Jacob Kelsey had no choice. He had to take the shot.
Fortunately for Kelsey and the Jamestown College men's basketball team, the ball came to him in a spot he'd been hot from all Saturday night.
The junior got a rebound after Jimmies freshman center Dustin Herrmann missed a contested shot in the paint and sank an 8-foot jumper from the right baseline to give his team a 74-73 lead over Dickinson State with 3 seconds remaining in the Dakota Athletic Conference men's basketball game at Scott Gymnasium.
Nathan Lebsock missed a running jumper as time expired, sealing Jamestown's victory and DSU's fourth loss in its last five games.
"I had to make the shot for us to win," said Kelsey, a transfer from Hill College in Texas. "I've been struggling all year. It feels good to finally hit some shots and help my team get a victory out of this."
Kelsey was one of three Jimmies (10-14, 4-8 DAC) who finished with 11 points -- Hermann and Tom Bachmeier were the others -- and helped their team snap a three-game skid. Jamestown had lost six of its past seven entering Saturday's game.
"We've been through some tough times this year," Jamestown coach Jeff Trumbauer said. "For them to keep working and come away with a victory is very satisfying."
Kelsey's late effort squashed a great DSU second-half comeback.
The Blue Hawks (15-11, 8-4 DAC) trailed 36-28 at halftime and fell behind by as much as nine in the second half as several attempts to chip away at Jamestown's lead proved futile.
However, after cutting the Jimmies' lead to two points a pair of times, Lebsock finally found a groove.
The sophomore guard hit a wide-open 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the game at 59 after senior guard Sean Burnham found him on a kick-out pass. He then gave DSU it's first lead of the game after being finishing off a three-point play from the free-throw line when he was fouled making a shot near the hoop.
Burnham and Lebsock both had big games for DSU.
Burnham, who was forced to evacuate his house by poison control on Saturday morning, scored a game-high 20 points and flirted with a triple-double, dishing out eight assists and gathering seven rebounds. Lebsock scored 19 points while hitting three 3-pointers and 6 of 7 from the line.
Josh Walker added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Blue Hawks.
"I feel like we came out and fought a lot better in the second half and we worked real hard to get back in the game," Burnham said. "It came down to a last-second shot. It kind of sucks."
DSU built its lead to 71-65 with 4:16 remaining in the game before Jamestown began chipping away. The Blue Hawks maintained an advantage until Kelsey's final shot.
After Herrmann tied the game at 72 after making 1 of 2 free throws with 18 seconds left, Sean Burnham put DSU back 73-72 on top by making his second of two free throws.
The Jimmies fouled Burnham on the in-bounds pass, forcing DSU to the line in order to get to the ball back.
Blue Hawks coach Ty Orton took responsibility for the loss after the game and felt
"I thought Jeff did a great job. I thought I did a terrible job," Orton said. "I don't think I got my team prepared for this game.
"They played physical, they played aggressive, they outplayed us in every category of the game. They should have own the game, we should not have won the game."
Notes: The Jimmies were playing without leading scorer and rebounder John Peabody, who has been out since Feb. 7 with mononucleosis. ... Byron Jones had 10 points for the Jimmies while nursing a sore shoulder. ... DSU wraps up the regular season by visiting Mayville State on Wednesday and Dakota State on Thursday. ... There is a possibility DSU could host Jamestown next Sunday in the DAC tournament quarterfinals.
JAMESTOWN COLLEGE (10-14, 4-8 DAC): Tom Bachmeier 5-6 0-0 11, Jacob Kelsey 3-5 3-5 11, Dustin Herrmann 4-5 3-5 11, Byron Jones 2-9 4-9 10, BJ Mertens 3-5 3-4 9, Ross Florhaug 3-6 2-2 8, Bill Bauman 3-7 1-2 7, Tanner Farkas 3-4 0-0 7, Luke Lorenz 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Bauer 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 26-50 16-27 74.
DICKINSON STATE (15-11, 8-4 DAC): Sean Burnham 7-9 6-9 20, Nathan Lebsock 5-12 6-7 19, Joshua Walker 4-11 3-3 11, Fred Scheltinga 2-3 4-6 8, Branden Thomas 2-2 1-2 5, Tomaul Hawkins 2-7 0-0 4, Derek Pauley 1-2 2-2 4, Brian Lebsock 0-2 2-2 2, Jeremy Mallard 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Ernst 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Martinez 0-0 0-0 0, Mark Versen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-51 24-31 73.
Halftime: JC 36, DSU 28. Total fouls: JC 26, DSU 24. 3-point goals: JC 6-16 (Kelsey 2-4, Jones 2-6, Bachmeier 1-1, Farkas 1-2, Florhaug 0-2), DSU 3-10 (N. Lebsock 3-5, Walker 0-1, Hawkins 0-1, Mallard 0-1, B. Lebsock 0-1, Versen 0-1). Rebounds: JC 26 (Kelsey 5), DSU 33 (Walker 7, Burnham 7, Hawkins 7). Assists: JC 14 (Mertens 8), DSU 12 (Burnham 8). Steals: JC 5 (Jones, Bachmeier, Bauman, Kelsey, Harrmann), DSU 6 (Walker 2). Blocks: JC 1 (Herrmann), DSU 1 (Scheltinga). Turnovers: JC 15 (Jones 4), DSU 15 (Walker 4).