By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator
Former N.C. A&T star J.J. Miller and Team Jamison were already familiar with overtime at the Greater NC Pro-Am as they came into their match-up against former N.C. State wing Johnny Thomas and Body of Christ. Team Jamison defeated Coaches in Christ in an overtime thriller in their season opener as Miller displayed extraordinary scoring ability.
The first quarter was highlighted by Duke forward and Team Jamison's Miles Plumlee, as he made things happen in the post. Plumlee dominated the paint early with a pair of two-handed slams and a few impressive rejections. Miller also got to work early, scoring 5 of his 28 points in the first period as Team Jamison took a 19-14 lead into the second quarter.
Thomas made a statement early in the second quarter, hitting a deep pull-up jumper while being tightly guarded by Plumlee. Body of Christ's Scott Grable came off the bench to contribute physical play in the paint, hitting a free throw to convert a three point play that tied the game at 25-25. Body of Christ continued their run, scoring five more points to take the halftime lead.
Miller took over for Team Jamison in the second half as Plumlee and Duke teammate Seth Curry struggled on the offensive end. As Body of Christ began to stretch their lead, Miller kept his team in the game by converting two straight old-fashioned three point plays. At the start of the fourth quarter, Miller hit a free throw to finish another three point play, which cut Body of Christ's lead to 46-42.
While Miller was seemingly unstoppable in the second half, Johnny Thomas defended Body of Christ's lead with excellent offensive play. After Miller's deadly shooting cut the deficit to two, Thomas hit two shots from three point land and a two pointer off the glass to extend his team's lead to 61-53.
"When [Miller] hit the three, I knew I was coming down and shooting a three right back at them," Thomas said.
As Body of Christ appeared to be putting the game out of doubt, Team Jamison remained focused. After Plumlee hit two free throws and a lay-up, Curry got a steal and an easy lay-in of his own to cut the lead to 61-59 with 1:01 remaining. Rhode Island sophomore Akeem Richmond hit the second of two free throws to give Body of Christ a three point lead, but Miller erased that deficit by knocking down all of his free throws after being fouled on a three point shot.
Body of Christ made a late push in regulation, hitting a floater with four seconds to go. The basket was disallowed, however. Offensive goaltending negated the basket and sent the game into overtime.
Thomas got started right away in overtime, hitting a three ball as he continued his perimeter shooting clinic. He followed his basket with a lay-up, but Miller nailed two free throws with 29.6 seconds left to tie the game, 67-67.
Timeout, Body of Christ. The ball was inbounded to Thomas as he set up to take the final shot. After dribbling some time off the clock, Thomas took a hard step to fake the drive, and pulled up from the top of the key. The ball swished through the net as time expired and the crowd erupted in cheers.
"In the first half, I didn't hit as many shots as I wanted to and I just kept my head in the game and came out strong in the second half," Thomas said.
Fortunately for Body of Christ, Thomas' strong play in the second half led the team to their second straight victory, as they won by a final score of 70-67.