Nov. 22, 2005–Games started early for basketball fans Monday, as the Paradise Jam wrapped up with championship play at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center. Norfolk State played Fordham University, Eastern Kentucky played Georgia University, and Old Dominion University battled Wisconsin in the game for first place in the tournament.
Fordham 72, Norfolk State 53
In game one, the Norfolk State Spartans took on Fordham University's Rams in the battle for fifth place in the tournament. The game started out at a frantic pace with both teams racing up and down the court. Fordham took an early 13-11 lead with 12 minutes left in the half. Bryant Dunston, Fordham's star forward, led the charge on a break taking the ball fiercely to the rim, making the shot and getting the foul.
Norfolk State didn't allow Fordham to get comfortable with the lead, however. The Spartans' forward Tynell Dunkley scored a lay-up to tie the score at 16 with 8:31 remaining, helping Norfolk State to dominate the paint in the first half, with an 18-6 advantage.
Fordham's Head Coach Dereck Whittenburg, disgruntled with his team's play, called a timeout, spurring the Rams to change to zone defense. This allowed the team to proceed, going on a 20-11 run to make the score 38-27 in favor of the Rams at the half.
The momentum from the first half carried over into the second, as the score topped 30-50 in favor of Fordham at the 17:00 mark. Norfolk State went into a full court press, which caused 12 second half turnovers. Behind inspired play by Norfolk State center Calvin Brown and guard Tony Murphy the Spartans cut the Ram's lead to 41-50 with 9:04 left in the game.
From that point on, Fordham University regained their first half form behind guard Marcus Stout who scored 9 points in the final 9 minutes. The Rams ultimately defeated the Spartans 72-53.
Stout led the Rams in scoring with 21 points followed by Dunston with 15 points. Norfolk state was lead by Murphy with 13 points.
Georgia 76, Eastern Kentucky 68
In the second game of the night the Eastern Kentucky Colonels took on the Georgia Bulldogs. These teams would be in a see saw battle all night, with 12 lead changes and five ties in the first half.
With 5:00 left, Georgia lead the game 28-26, allowing Bulldog guard Mike Mercer to made a lay up to extend the lead to 30-26 for his team. Colonels guard Mike Rose made a three pointer to narrow the gap to one. Georgia guard Levi Stukes made a 15-foot jump shot to put the lead back up to 3, making it 29-32 in favor of the Bulldogs. With seven seconds left in the half Colonels guard Harrison Brown sank a three pointer to take a 34-32 half-time lead.
At half time a free throw shooting contest sponsored by Avis Rent-a-Car allowed youngster Deandre Mobley to win a gift certificate by making three out of five free throw shots. The Charlotte Amalie High School's marching band also played for the crowd.
The second half opened with Eastern Kentucky's leading scorer Matt Witt hitting a lay-up to make the score 36-32 in favor of the Colonels. Up to that point, Witt was having a sub-par night, only putting up 4 points in the first half.
Both teams came out of the half determined to take the ball to the rim, and the game was close up to the three-minute mark when the score was 64-68 in favor of Georgia. Eastern Kentucky's zone lost some of its effectiveness, late in the game, as Georgia was able to take a 72-66 lead.
With time running out, Eastern Kentucky was forced to foul in order to stop the clock. Georgia, who shot 80 percent from the free throw line during the game, took this opportunity to widen the lead to 76-66putting the game out of reach for Eastern Kentucky with a final score of 76-68 in favor of Georgia. This landed the Bulldogs the third place seat in the tournament.
Wisconsin 84, Old Dominion 81
The final game between Old Dominion's Monarchs, and the University of Wisconson Badgers brought in a record 3,147 spectators to the Jam on Monday. However, at game time, the roar of the crowd made it seem as if there was double that amount, with fans chanting team names and wildly waving banners in the air.
Both teams' nervousness was apparent in the first two possessions of the game as both Badgers and Monarchs made quick turnovers. But this feeling seemed to subside, giving way to competitive play, where players were diving on the court for loose balls and working on defensive strategies.
Brian Butch opened the scoring for Wisconsin with a baby hook about a foot from the basket. Old Dominion's start player Arnaud Dahi countered with a three pointer, to give the Monarchs an early 3-2 lead with 18:15 left in the half. This back and forth play would last for the rest of the halfgiving Old Dominion a 36-32 lead.
Coming into the second half, Wisconsin's Alando Tucker was fouled and hit both of his free throws, to make the score 34-36 in favor of Old Dominion. Both teams continued their power struggle into the final seconds of the game, when Wisconsin's Kammron Taylor hit a three pointer in the corner with 37 seconds left to make it 79-75 in favor of Wisconsin.
Old Dominion point guard Drew Williamson missed a three pointer, but Dahi grabbed the offensive rebound and put it back with 13:4 left to make it 79-77 in favor of Wisconsin. With 7:06 left in the game, Wisconsin fouled Old Dominion's Alex Loughton who made one of two free throws. Wisconsin's Marcus Landry rebounded the missed free throw and was fouled immediately.
With 5.9 seconds left, Landry hit two clutch free throws, extending Wisconsin's lead 83-78. Old Dominion's Williamson hit a three with 1.2 seconds left, to make it a two- point game. Taylor, fouled immediately, made one of two free throws, which gave Wisconsin an 84-81 lead.
In a last ditch effort, Old Dominion's Williamson threw the ball down to the Monarch's three point line, where teammate Loughton caught, shot and missed. Loughton looked as if he were fouled on the shotbut there was no call from the referee which put Old Dominion fans in an uproar. Consequently, Wisconsin won the game with an 84-81 victory over the Monarchs — putting Wisconsin as the tournament's first place winner for the men's division.
After the game, in a short ceremony Wisconsin's Tucker was named most valuable player, while Fordham's Dunston, Eastern Kentucky's Alonzo Hird, Georgia's Mercer, Old Dominion's Loughton, and Wisconsin's Taylor picked up all star awards.
Paradise Jam continues later this week with the women's division tournament.