Despite a loss in their previous game, things were looking up for the Jamestown Community College Jayhawks.
That defeat on Jan. 29 was by five points to Monroe CC, which was ranked fifth in NJCAA Division II men's basketball.
The Jayhawks returned to action Tuesday night against the Mercyhurst North East Saints, who sported a 10-9 record, and suffered an 85-77 Region 3 Division II loss.
Ed Newell of JCC puts up a shot over Shaquille Ford of MNE in the men’s game. See additional photos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P-J photos by Jim Riggs
''It's very disappointing,'' JCC coach Mike Cordovano said. ''After the Monroe game we thought we might get going and we just embarrassed ourselves.''
The Jayhawks fall to 11-12 overall and 2-6 in Region 3 Division II. MNE is now 5-3 in the region.
''We're really a bad basketball team,'' Cordovano said. ''Not talent-wise, we're just a bad basketball team right now. I asked the kids before the game, just a little bit more after the Monroe game. Just a little more and see what happens and it wasn't a matter of a little more.''
And he had the indications it wasn't going to be the Jayhawks' night from the start.
''I should have known after the first minute,'' Cordovano said. ''I should have cleared the bench after the first minute. We weren't there from the tipoff. I've got kids I should have given opportunities to.''
He added, ''We had a week off to get ready and we did everything but what we were supposed to do in the first minute. Nobody knew what they were doing at the defensive end, whether it was man or zone.''
The Saints jumped out to a 16-9 lead and the only thing keeping the Jayhawks in the game were 3-pointers, two by Michael Forrest and one by Davonte Dunham.
Then JCC got a spark and went on a 13-4 run to take a two-point lead. And the Jayhawks had a couple more two-point leads thanks to 3-pointers by Tyreek Jewell. But that last lead was with 3:34 left in the first half and from that point Mercyhurst North East finished the half with and 8-2 run for a 37-33 halftime advantage.
The Saints opened the second half with another 8-2 run to take a 10-point lead. But JCC responded with a 9-1 run, with seven of the points by Omar St. John, to pull within two.
''We kept hanging around in the second half and our team played just enough to keep themselves in the game,'' Cordovano said.
The Saints managed to move back in front by seven, but the Jayhawks went to the press and that combined with three straight 3-pointers, one by Forrest and two by Jewell who then popped in a 2, led to the Jayhawks suddenly leading, 66-64, with five minutes left.
''We practice playing behind almost everyday in practice,'' Cordovano said. ''But when we put that press on, we couldn't even cover the inbound (play). So Mercyhurst was terrible themselves throwing the ball away. They were helping us out. It wasn't our press, it was their lack of taking care of the ball that allowed us to get back in the game.''
He added, ''At the end I had to take the press off because Tyreek had four fouls.''
The Jayhawks' sudden lead was short-lived as the Saints rattled off 10 straight points to take an eight-point lead which they retained until the end.
Most of the second-half damage was done by MNE's Shaquille Ford with 18 points and he finished with a game-high 26. Damon Jones had 20 points and Je'Land Head 17.
JCC was led by Jewell with 24 points and seven rebounds while St. John had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Dunham collected 14 points and eight rebounds.
Next for JCC is a home Region 3 Division II game against Genesee CC on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
MERCYHURST NORTH EAST (85)
Henderson 4 1-2 9, Brockington 1 3-4 5, DJones 8 8-9 20, Herring 0 0-0 0, BJones 2 0-0 5, McLaughlin 1 1-2 3, Krug 0 0-0 0, Ford 10 6-8 26, Head 5 6-7 17, Totals 29 25-30 85.
Dunham 4 3-5 11, Walker 0 0-0 0, St. John 8 5-6 21, Newell 0 0-0 0, Jewell 8 3-4 24, Forrest 4 0-0 11, Williams 0 0-0 0, Sterling 2 0-0 5, Totals 26 11-15 77.
Halftime-Mercyhurst North East 37, JCC 33. 3-point goals-Henderson, Djones, Head, Dunham 3, St. John 2, Jewell 5, Forrest 3, Sterling. Total fouls-Mercyhurst North East 16, JCC 22.