The Minot State University men's basketball team finally looked to have things under control.
A few minutes into the second half Tuesday, the Beavers went on an 11-3 run to stretch their first lead of the game into a five-point advantage.
But Jamestown College's Mark Hoge and Davon Thomas responded with back-to-back 3-pointers and carried the Jimmies down the stretch to a 66-62 victory at the MSU Dome.
Minot State University sophomore Adam Randall drives baseline in front of Jamestown College’s Davon Thomas during Jamestown’s win Tuesday at the MSU Dome.
Hoge scored a game-high 26 points - including 17 in the second half - and Thomas chipped in 16. Which is exactly what MSU coach Matt Murken didn't want to happen.
"They have two guys that are really good, and the majority of the time it was those two guys making baskets," said Murken, who coached at Jamestown the last two seasons. "That's just a complete lack of execution on our part. They know how to win, they do what it takes to win, they get shots for the guys that win games (and) we don't guard guys who win games."
The consecutive 3s by the juniors gave Jamestown and 47-46 lead and unlocked an MSU defense that was flustering the Jimmies (7-6).
"We have a lot of freshmen on our team, so when a team picks up defensively, we're not used to handling full pressure like that," Hoge said. "When we got down Davon and I looked at each other and said, 'OK, we need to pick up and take over and ... carry the team from here on out.' "
That they did, particularly Hoge.
Hoge scored 12 points in the game's last nine minutes, 14 seconds on an array of 3-pointers and floaters. He also knocked down all seven of his free-throw attempts in the game.
MSU (1-6 overall, 0-3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference) took a three-point lead after a Josh Johnson layup with 2:08 remaining, but Hoge scored the next six points to steady the Jimmies. The 6-foot-3 lefty said playing against the Jimmies' former coach added even more incentive for the NAIA team to knock off the NCAA Division II Beavers.
"It added a lot of energy and emotion," Hoge said. "We were flying high in the locker room before the game. At the end of the game, we were shouting and yelling all through the hall and the locker room. It's a D-II team so it's good to get a win, but at the same time, to beat an old coach - it meant a lot to us. A lot."
Guards Dominique McDonald and Anthony Enriquez led MSU with 11 points apiece. McDonald also had a game-high six assists, but committed five turnovers. Junior guard E.J. Williams was the only other Beaver in double figures with 10 points.
The Beavers shot 48 percent from the field but cashed in on just 8-of-18 foul shots, compared to 17-of-20 for Jamestown.
"We just didn't convert when we had opportunities," Murken said. "You're not gonna win very many basketball games doing that."
Thomas controlled the game early and Jamestown led 32-28 at halftime. The 6-foot-5 forward scored the Jimmies' first seven points on a putback, a jump hook and a 3 from the left wing.
"We've got two high-level guys that can carry us some nights," Jamestown coach Justin Wieck said, "and Mark and Davon did that tonight."
The Jimmies play at Dickinson State on Saturday and MSU plays at Minnesota, Crookston on Friday in an NSIC matchup.