The 2015 Paradise Jam kicked off Friday at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center with Ohio and Tulsa facing off first in a true game of two halves.
In the first, Ohio dominated, led by Jaaron Simmons and Kenny Kaminski, who had 14 and 18 points, respectively, and helped push Ohio up 10 with about 10 minutes to go in the half, 24-14.
A couple of minutes later, Jordan Dartis scored three pointer with an assist from Simmonds to put Ohio up 14. Simmons and Kaminski hit late free throws and at half, the score was 54-37.
To begin the second half, Ohio kept the pressure on and with 11:20 to go in the game, Treg Setty’s free throw shot gave Ohio their biggest lead so far, 70-51. But from there, Tulsa made its run: a Shaquille Harrison layup with 10 minutes to go put Tulsa within 10 (70-60) while a Pat Brit three pointer with about eight minutes to go, cut the lead to seven.
Then, with about four minutes to go, Antonio Campbell’s turnover led to a Harrison dunk to make it four. Harrison then got a steal on Ohio’s Simmonds, which led to a fast-break dunk to bring the lead down to two. Two free throw shots by James Woodard knotted the score at 81 with 2:48 to go, while more late turnovers by Ohio gave Tulsa the chance to hold on for a 90-88 victory.
For Tulsa, Harrison finished the game with 31 points and nine rebounds, while Brandon Swannegan had 16, followed by Woodard with 15. For Ohio, Simmons finished with 30 points, while Kaminski — who only scored three points in the second half — had 21.
Florida State and Hofstra
In a surprising second game, Hofstra defeated Florida State 82-77. The ‘Noles were clearly the crowd favorite Friday and for good reason: Coming into the tournament, Florida State boasted two early season wins (against Nicholls State and Jacksonville) and a possible NBA prospect in freshman Dwayne Bacon.
The first half of Friday’s game was close, with the lead changing hands six times. Florida State dominated in the paint scoring 26-18 over Hofstra, but it was Hofstra that came out of the break with the lead, 41-35.
The second half was more of the same, and at the 10:12 mark, a free throw from Florida State’s Jarquez Smith made it a one point game, 60-59. But that’s as close as they would get. Free throws by Hofstra’s Ameen Tanksley — who finished with 14 points in the game — pushed the lead back out to seven, while more free throws by Denton Koon allowed Hofstra to widen the gap to nine.
Hofstra would hold on for the win.
Bryan Bernardi led Hofstra with 24 points, followed by teammate Juan’ya Green with 17 and Koon with 15. For Florida State, Malik Beasley had 25, while highly touted guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes finished with only on 4-14 shooting from the field.
In the third game, South Carolina trumped DePaul 76-61, while Indiana State beat Norfolk State 70-61 to round out the day.
Paradise Jam continues Saturday on St. Thomas.