By Jim Riggs
The Jamestown Community College Jayhawks took on a struggling Alfred State College men's basketball team on Saturday and came away with an expected victory.
Omar St. John puts up a shot over Alfred State's Christian Santana during Saturday's NJCAA Region 3 Division II men's basketball game. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
The visiting Pioneers fell to 7-12 overall and more importantly, 0-6 in NJCAA Region 3 Division II, after an 88-71 loss to JCC. But early in the second half, it was Alfred State that was in front and the Pioneers trailed by only three with 10 minutes left to play before the Jayhawks finally put the game away.
When asked if he felt like his team had recorded a 17-point victory, JCC coach Mike Cordovano said, ''No. With all respect to Alfred, our players were just better and that's why we won the game. Our team wasn't better, our effort wasn't better, our commitment wasn't better. Our players were better and in the end that took over.''
And he feels fortunate that his team moved its record to 11-10 overall and 3-3 in Region 3 Division II.
''We have to be alert and aware at both ends of the court,'' Cordovano said. ''I told the kids after the game, if one guy defensively doesn't do his job, at this level the team's going to pay for it. We do that so often. We get four guys playing and one guy misses a slide - basket. At this level you're tested at every position. And that's just what we're doing. We're not getting 40 minutes of staying alert and staying on task.''
Next for the JCC is a home game on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Monroe CC, which is ranked fifth in Division II with an 18-2 record and one of the wins was against the Jayhawks in the championship game of The Post-Journal Classic.
''I pointed out three plays that Alfred ran and the shots were missed,'' Cordovano said. ''I told them those all go in on Tuesday, and they will go in on Tuesday.''
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But first JCC had to worry about the Pioneers on Saturday and after 10 minutes of play the Jayhawks were in front, 15-14, as 12 of their points had come on four 3-pointers.
Soon the Pioneers moved in front and a couple of 3-pointers from Marquis Chatman helped them retain the lead with 1:35 left in the first half.
After that, a 3 by Michael Forrest and another just before the buzzer by Davonte Dunham gave the Jayhawks a 38-34 lead at halftime.
But a problem for JCC at halftime was that Kenny Stokes and Forrest had three fouls each.
''I was worried about foul trouble,'' Cordovano said. ''I felt at halftime if we could keep our players on the floor, we pull this one off. I just felt if we could keep five guys out there (we would win), and we did.''
But it didn't look like that would happen 7 minutes into the second half when Stokes, Forrest and Ed Newell had four fouls each for the the Jayhawks. Despite that Tyreek Jewell went on a tear and scored eight straight points which led JCC to a 10-point advantage.
The lead eventually dropped to three, but it was never lost and one of the keys was freshman Adam Walker, who was called on to play because of all the foul trouble and he definitely answered the call.
The Clymer graduate popped in a 3-pointer to extend the JCC lead to six and then let his defense do the rest.
''We're really pretty much a seven-man team and Adam's our eighth guy,'' Cordovano said. ''Today because of foul trouble and I think a lack of commitment from our team at the defensive end, I just thought let's give Adam a chance and he did a wonderful job. He frustrated Marquis Chatman the last of 10 minutes of the game. He's been having a great game up until then (11 points and then scored only three more).''
He added about Walker, ''He sticks a jumper, he won't turn it over and he's a safe bet. He's earned more playing time as the season's gone on.''
Jewell went on another run with five straight points that gave JCC a 14-point lead with 6:50 left to play and the game was never in doubt from that point for the Jayhawks.
Dunham had 25 points and seven rebounds for JCC while Jewell had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Omar St. John finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Jamar White led Alfred State with 22 points. Chatman and Tommy Hutson had 14 each while Adam Fezza had 10.
ALFRED STATE (71)
Chatman 5 0-0 14, Hutson 4 5-7 14, Nolan 1 2-4 5, White 6 10-11 22, Wutz 0 0-0 0, Franklin 0 0-0 0, Stevenson 2 0-3 4, Santana 1 0-0 2, Fezza 3 3-4 10, Totals 22 20-29 71.
Dunham 8 4-4 25, Walker 1 0-0 3, St.John 7 4-4 19, Newell 0 0-0 0, Jewell 9 3-4 23, Forrest 3 2-2 9, Stokes 2 1-1 6, Sterling 0 3-4 3, Totals 30 17-19 88.
Halftime-JCC 38, Alfred State 34. 3-point goals-Chatman 4, Hutson, Nolan, Fezza. Total fouls-Alfred State 14, JCC 26. Fouled out-Stokes.