JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Trailing as many as 23 points Sunday afternoon at the Civic Center, Dakota State roared back in the second-half to defeat Jamestown (N.D.) in the rematch of the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Conference Postseason Tournament's championship game by the score of 78-76 (DSU defeated Jamestown 82-73 in last year's A.I.I. title match in Madison, S.D.).
Dakota State, A.I.I.'s No. 3 seed, extended their school record with 22 wins (currently 22-9 overall record). Jamestown, No. 5 seed and host-team, dropped to 15-18 overall record. Both teams qualified for the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament.
The Trojans and Jimmies opened the game by going through four ties and six lead changes in the first nine minutes and five seconds.
With DSU leading at 19-18, JC went on a 33-9 scoring tear to earn the biggest lead of the game at 51-28 with 1:26 left before halftime.
Tyrone Gordon, Jr. closed the first-half by scoring five straight points as DSU trimmed JC's lead to 51-33 by intermission.
Jamestown shot a sizzling 60.6 percent from the field in the first-half (20-for-33). The Jimmies drained 10 3-pointers in 15 attempts (66.7 percent). The Trojans were 10-for-27 from the field (37 percent) in the first twenty minutes of the game and 6-for-13 from the 3-point arc.
Dakota State extended their scoring run to 7-0 as the Trojans trimmed their deficit to 51-37, forcing Jamestown to call timeout with 18:43 remaining.
The Trojans trimmed their deficit to single digit at 65-56 with 10:57 left, but JC regained their double digits lead for another two minutes.
Trailing 70-58, Dakota State roared by scoring 11 consecutive points to cut JC's lead to 70-69 with six minutes remaining in the game.
A 3-pointer from Luke Lamb with four minutes left gave the Trojans a 72-71 lead. DSU regained their lead for the first time since 19-18 with 11:11 remaining in the first-half.
At 72-72, the Trojans outscored the Jimmies with a 5-1 scoring run to earn a four-point lead at 77-73 with 2:45.
Mark Hoge nailed down a 3-pointer with 2:36 left as the Jimmies reduced DSU's lead to 77-76.
Yusuf Vinson went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line as DSU maintained a 78-76 lead with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Jamestown was unable to reduce their deficit or tie the game as Hoge missed two free-throws in less than 10 seconds.
After a missed free-throw by DSU's Marcus Smith with less than five seconds left, Jamestown was unable to nail down a half-court 3-point shot by Breshion Tucker as time expired.
Dakota State outscored Jamestown 45-25 in the final twenty minutes of the game.
The Trojans shot 51.4 percent in the second-half (18-for-35). DSU was 7-for-13 from the 3-point line (53.8 percent). JC struggled from the field, shooting 39.1 percent (9-for-23) in the final twenty minutes of the game. The Jimmies were 4-for-9 from the 3-point arc (44.4 percent).
Four DSU starters scored in double digits. Vinson scored 19 points on his 7-for-10 shooting from the field, 2-for-4 from the 3-point range and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line. John Lamb added 17 points. He was 6-for-13 from the field and nailed down five 3-pointers. Gordon, Jr. added 15 points.
Luke Lamb had a double-double of 15 points and earned 10 rebounds for the Trojans. He was 4-for-6 from the 3-point line.
Vinson grabbed eight rebounds for Dakota State. Gordon, Jr. added six rebounds.
Gordon, Jr. dished out four assists for DSU. Vinson had three steals and a blocked shot.
Hoge poured in 36 points (22 points in the first-half) for Jamestown. He was 12-for-19 from the field, including 9-for-11 from the 3-point arc. Tucker added 15 points. Davon Thomas had 10 points.
Beny Collins pulled down 11 rebounds for the Jimmies.
Tucker produced eight assists for JC. He had two steals.
Jamestown shot 51.5 percent overall from the field (29-for-56) compared to the Trojans' 45.2 percent (28-for-62).
A total of 27 3-pointers were nailed down in the game. JC was 14-for-24 from the 3-point arc (58.3 percent), while DSU was 13-for-26 (50 percent).
DSU went to the free-throw line 20 times and converted nine free-throws (45 percent). JC was 4-for-8 from the free-throw line (50 percent).
The Trojans outrebounded the Jimmies 38-31. DSU outscored JC 19-2 in second-chance points.
JC committed 12 turnovers in the game compared to DSU 8 turnovers. The Trojans outscored the Jimmies 19-0 in points off turnovers.
It was the third straight A.I.I. tournament game that Dakota State had to overcome a halftime deficit and rallied back with a strong second-half surge for victory.
Both teams will wait until Wednesday evening to find out who they will play in the opening round of the NAIA Division II Men's Basketball National Tournament. For the first time, the NAIA is producing a selection show with graphics to announce the 32-team bracket. The women's show begins at approximately 7 p.m., and approximately 15 minutes later, the men's show will begin. The shows can be found on the NAIA Facebook page.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director