Dickinson State Blue Hawks men’s basketball stays undefeated in NSAA play with win over Jamestown
The Dickinson State men’s basketball team hadn’t played a game at home in over a month and had gone 2-5 over that span.
So DSU showed the old cliche of “Home is where the heart is” to be pretty accurate.
The Blue Hawks said they showed heart in their 85-71 victory over the University of Jamestown Saturday night at Scott Gymnasium in a North Star Athletic Association contest.
With the win, the Blue Hawks (10-8, 3-0 NSAA) stayed undefeated in conference play.
“We knew with 12 new guys, we knew we were going to have a learning curve,” DSU head coach Justin Wetzel said. “We have arguably had the toughest schedule in the North Star in terms of preseason. I think that’s made us tougher, and I knew we have a long way to go. But we’re turning that corner in terms of toughness, guarding and rebounding.”
Senior guards Julian Vasquez and Curtis Redd combined for 52 points with 26 each. Redd was 7 of 13 from the field and made 11 of 15 free throws. Vasquez was 8 of 18 from the field and 9 of 11 from the free-throw line.
Jamestown’s Brequan Tucker scored a game-high 31 points.
“We finally got the hang of what it’s like to win in big games,” Vasquez said. “These games all really matter, not that the beginning of the season didn’t, but it’s nice to know that we’re buckling down when we need to and coming up with big plays when necessary.”
Though both teams battled back and forth to start the game out, DSU was the first to open a considerable lead and jumped out in front as much as 13 points in the first half. However, the Jimmies (9-7, 1-2) went on a 7-0 run and got themselves within six.
DSU worked its way back up to a 41-30 lead by halftime.
Redd led at intermission with 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting. Vasquez had nine points with his 4 of 10 made shots.
Tucker paced Jamestown with 10 points with marks of 4 of 5 from the field and 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
DSU fought through offensive struggles in the first half, as the Blue Hawks went 14 of 36 (38.9 percent) and 4 of 15 (26.7 percent) from the 3-point line, while Jamestown was 12 of 26 (46.2 percent) and 5 of 13 (38.5 percent) from 3.
“I expected them to make a run,” Wetzel said. “They’re a program that has won, and we’re a program that needs to learn how to win.”
DSU also showed fight — maybe a little bit too much — when a group of Blue Hawks and Jimmies fought for a loose ball that prompted almost the whole Jamestown bench to get involved. Jimmies senior forward KeWan Davis and DSU junior guard Reggie Field Jr. were called for technical fouls on the play.
“I feel like in conference games, you always need a little more,” said Redd, who was also called for a technical later in the game. “Guys are a little more dialed in, and I think it’s a little bit more heated because it’s a rivalry.”
DSU came out of the halftime break on a 10-1 run to more or less put the game away. In fact, the Blue Hawks extended their lead to as much as 21, but Jamestown replied to score 33 points in the last 6 minutes and get within eight.
“We just kind of started to play not to lose instead of playing to win,” Redd said. “It was a learning experience, we learn from it. Hopefully when we’re in that position again, it won’t happen again.”
Down by 14 with 2 minutes left, Tucker, who had taken a steal for a wide-open layup during a previous possession, drove into a DSU defender to draw a foul for a basket and a free throw. Tucker then took a wide-open jumper to get his team closer.
But with back-and-forth shots at the free-throw line for both teams, DSU found a way to escape with a win.
“We figured out we need to take care of the ball, possession by possession,” Vasquez said. “We’re starting to figure out the first possession of the game is just as important as the last one.”
DSU’s next game will be another conference contest on Wednesday at Mayville State.
“This was just one small step in a long, long remaining grind of a season,” Wetzel said. “It’s good to be back and give our fans a hard-fought contest.”
UJ (9-7, 1-2): Brequan Tucker 10-16 8-10 31, Logan Brown 3-7 3-4 11, Jake Hagler 2-12 0-0 5, Aaron Ashley 0-5 0-0 0, Riley Henderson 2-3 0-0 4, Vlad Stoicoviciu 3-7 1-2 7, Mark Potter 0-1 0-0 0, Jon Purintun 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Havron 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 24-64 14-18 71.
DSU (10-8, 3-0): Stephon Dafney 2-9 5-5 10, Reggie Field Jr. 0-2 1-2 1, Jacob Gondrezick 3-8 3-3 11, Curtis Redd 7-13 11-15 26, Julian Vasquez 8-18 9-11 26, Billy Engel 1-2 0-0 3, Brandon Ruffin 1-1 0-0 2, Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. 1-1 0-1 2, Brandon Jamar 1-3 2-4 4, Thomas Cowan 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 24-59 31-41 85.
Halftime: DSU 41, UJ 30. Total fouls: UJ 31, DSU 22. Technical fouls: UJ, Davis, coach; DSU, Fields, Redd. Fouled out: UJ, Tucker, Hagler; DSU, Fields. 3-point goals: UJ 9-33 (Tucker 3-6, Brown 2-4, Hagler 1-4, Ashley 0-3, Henderson 0-1, Stoicoviciu 0-3, Johnson 3-10, Potter 0-1, Purintun 0-1), DSU 6-20 (Dafney 1-4, Gondrezick 2-5, Redd 1-4, Vasquez 1-5, Engel 1-2). Rebounds: UJ 41 (Tucker 8), DSU 43 (Dafney 8). Assists: UJ 6 (tow tied with 2), DSU 9 (Dafney 3). Steals: UJ 3 (three tied with 1), DSU 5 (Dafney 3). Blocks: UJ 3 (three tied with 1), DSU 0. Turnovers: UJ 12, DSU 7.