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Dickinson State men's basketball steals momentum, beats Johnson & Wales

Dickinson State senior guard Curtis Redd shoots a driving layup over a defender Friday night at Scott Gymnasium. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

Driving down the right side of the basketball court, Curtis Redd knew he had big-play opportunity as he saw Brandon Jamar out of the corner of his eye.

So when a Johnson & Wales (Colo.) University defender came up on him as he got out in transition, he threw the basketball off the backboard, Jamar followed by jumping, catching it behind his head and pounding the ball through the hoop.

Along with the ball, Jamar brought down JWU’s momentum as he propelled Dickinson State to a 87-78 win Friday night over the Wildcats at Scott Gymnasium.

“I yelled out his name, ‘Curtis, Curtis, Curtis,’” Jamar recalled. “Sure enough, he turned his head to the left, looked, and I went up and got it.”

As the Blue Hawks (5-3) trailed for a majority of the first half, they needed a momentum builder.

After Jamar rebounded a missed JWU shot, he passed to junior guard Brandon Ruffin, who found Redd around the halfcourt line. Redd attacked the hoop, drawing the defender and opening the lane for Jamar.

“I knew as soon as he threw that ball, there was nothing that was going to stop me from getting that ball,” Jamar said. “We had to do something that could give us that momentum edge. That was it.”

Jamar led the team with a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with six points. Redd finished with a game-best 24 points on 9 for 15 shooting despite four missed 3-pointers. Ruffin was right behind with 21 points.

“I was just trying to be aggressive this game offensively,” Redd said. “Julian (Vasquez) wasn’t hitting shots. It was an off night for him. I just tried to pick up the slack.”

The Blue Hawks and Wildcats (5-5) were evenly matched, even at the beginning of the game. Both teams scored 21 points by the first timeout with 8 minutes, 54 seconds to go in the first half. However, JWU went on a 13-4 run that included a 9-0 spurt.

The Wildcats took a 42-33 lead into the locker room.

“We were able to get a lot of transition points,” JWU head coach Quintin Grogan said. “They missed some shots, and there were long rebounds, and we were able to get out and get some transition points.”

Redd kept DSU in the game for the first half, as he scored 11 points and was the only player in double digits at that point. As a team, DSU was 33.3 percent from the field but only 6.7 percent from the 3-point line. JWU shot 43.2 percent and 11.1 percent from beyond the arc. Junior forward Andrew Bonner led the Wildcats with nine points on 4 of 5 shooting in the first half.

“It was a tale of two halves, credit to them,” DSU head coach Justin Wetzel said. “So much of it comes down to making shots. We did not make shots in the first half.”

The Blue Hawks fell further into a 57-44 deficit with 14:50 remaining.

But that was when the home team responded and got its crowd roaring, as DSU went on a 16-1 run that gave it a 60-58 advantage with 10:30 remaining that was capped off by back-to-back 3-pointers by Ruffin from the left corner.

DSU and JWU continued to duke it out to a 62-62 tie, but not long after, Jamar threw down the dunk — and more or less the Wildcats’ hopes.

“Moments like that, people really see us come together as brothers,” Jamar said. “We have a saying — ‘17 strong.’ I think in moments like that and moments when coach pulls us together in the huddle, I think we really stand by it.”

DSU will take on Trinity Bible College at 7 p.m. today at Scott Gym.

“Nobody wants to play from behind. It wasn’t the way we wanted to come out obviously,” Redd said. “We know not to put ourselves in that position, and we know what got ourselves in that position, so hopefully we can avoid that in the future, especially (today) against a tough opponent.”

JWU (5-5): Michael Mitchell 5-11 0-0 12, Andrew Bonner 6-10 1-3 13, Aaron Stone 3-10 1-2 7, Damon Bates 1-5 1-3 3, Danny Cheek 5-14 0-1 10, Gage Kroll 0-1 0-0 0, Tony Baldocchi 4-10 0-0 11, Andrew Romero III 1-4 1-3 3, Zach Jones 0-1 2-2 2, Justin Lee 0-1 2-2 2, Jontrell Herman 0-0 4-4 4, Bryson Sharpley 5-6 1-2 11, Zeldon Peterson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 30-74 13-22 78.

DSU (5-3): Stephon Dafney 1-3 2-2 4, Gilberto Shojgreen Jr. 1-1 1-2 1, Jacob Gondrezick 4-12 0-0 12, Curtis Redd 9-15 6-12 24, Julian Vasquez 3-14 5-5 11, Billy Engel 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon Ruffin 6-14 6-6 21, Myka Brown 0-2 0-0 0, Kolbi Selby 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon Jamar 3-5 0-0 6, Thomas Cowen 1-2 4-6 6. Totals: 28-70 24-33 87.

Halftime: JWU 42, DSU 33. Total fouls: JWU 24, DSU 17. Fouled out: JWU, Mitchell, DSU Vasquez. 3-point goals: JWU 5-19 (Mitchell 2-5, Bates 0-1, Cheek 0-3, Kroll 0-1, Baldocchi 3-7, Romero 0-1, Jones 0-1), DSU 7-28 (Dafney 0-1, Gondrezick 4-12, Redd 0-4, Vasquez 0-4, Engel 0-1, Ruffin 3-4, Brown 0-1, Selby 0-1). Rebounds: JWU 42 (Stone 9), DSU 54 (Jamar 14). Assists: JWU 14 (three tied with 3), DSU 12 (Vasquez 4). Steals: JWU 9 (Cheek 5), DSU 9 (Ruffin 3). Blocks: JWU 3 (Sharpley 2), DSU 5 (Jamar 3). Turnovers: JWU 17, DSU 16.

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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