CRYSTAL LAKE – After giving up the lead late in the first half, the message Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts gave to his team at halftime was pretty simple – make some shots.
Jacobs did get the offense going in the second half as the Golden Eagles defeated Crystal Lake Central, 55-43, in a Fox Valley Conference matchup at Crystal Lake Central.
“We were up at one point, 19-12, and then Central put together a nice run and was able to take the lead,” Roberts said. “I told the guys that someone needs to make a shot, and we would be fine.”
Jacobs (4-2, 1-0 FVC), which bounced back nicely after a loss to Warren on Saturday, had four players in double figures led by Ryan Phillips with 15 points. Phillips helped spark a 7-0 run to start the second half to give Jacobs the lead for good.
“We had a tough loss Saturday but got back to playing Jacobs’ basketball and played with a lot more passion,” Phillips said. “Tonight, we really showed what we are capable of.”
Ajani Rodriguez added 12 points, while Daniel Murray and Nikolas Balkcom each scored 10 points for Jacobs.
“This was a really good game after a tough loss,” Rodriguez said. “We really fought hard and went at them early. We hit shots in the second half, and after no 3’s in the first half, we hit some in the second half to help build the lead. We defended well all night. Any time you can hold a team like this to 43 points you did something right.”
With the exception of a stretch late in the second quarter when the Tigers went on an 11-2 run to take the lead, Jacobs defended well all game. The Golden Eagles forced 17 turnovers and held the Tigers to only 23 percent shooting in the second half and 31 percent for the game.
“I thought our defense was the best it has been so far this season,” Roberts said. “This was a classic Jacobs’ victory. We didn’t shoot free throws that well, but other than that, I was really happy with how we played. We played really poor on Saturday but got back to being us tonight against a really good team in a tough place to play.”
TOUGH SECOND HALF
After gaining the momentum before halftime, Crystal Lake Central (2-4, 1-1) was unable to keep it going in the second half. The Tigers were outscored, 34-20, after the break and struggled to get things going offensively.
“We stopped competing,” Central coach Rich Czeslawski said. “Jacobs is a good team that is used to winning, and we just stopped competing.”
The Tigers were led by Alex Timmerman, who finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Deonta Dungey also supplied Central with 15 points.