By Jay Neal
Jacksonville College’s 84-71 upset over Tyler Junior College Saturday may have been a surprise to many folks — after all, the Apaches did bring a 13-5 overall record, 6-4 in Region XIV, into the Curtis Carroll Fieldhouse — but not to JC head coach Cinco Boone.
“Our guys have been playing hard every night and they have responded well to some new things we’ve been doing and tonight they were able to put everything together and go out and play unselfish basketball and play well on both ends of the floor,” he said. “I knew we were getting close to having everything come together, so this (win) doesn’t surprise me This win was a great team effort..”
Boone stated the Jags have revamped their defense in particular, going to zone pressure and that his team is getting used to the changes.
“Facing a high scoring team like Tyler, we knew coming in a couple of things would have to happen for us to have a chance to win,” Boone said. “We hit some early threes that forced them to back out of the zone and when they came out our big guys stepped up near the basket and did a good job for us.
“To hold them (Tyler) to 71 points also says a lot about our defense.”
The Jags (11-11, 5-6 in Region XIV) dialed in the long ball early as Bryce Hill hit the first of what would be seven triples the Clovis, NM sophomore would bury on the evening — Hill’s first rainbow came just 1:50 into the game with the bomb capping off a 7-0 JC run.
Hill, who tallied a game-high 28 points to go along with his six rebounds, drained his second triple with 11:47 to play in the opening half. His long ball came from straight away and put JC ahead 17-15 — the Jags never trailed from that moment on.
JC, who was playing before a large and boisterous homecoming audience, claimed their first double-digit (10) lead of the night at the 8:21 mark when Daniel Skinner netted a put back from the low paint that made the score 30-20.
Skinner was one of two Jags to end up with a double double as Skinner fired in 13 points and shagged 10 rebounds while Eric Kibi scored 15 points and had 11 boards.
The Apaches (13-6, 6-5), who came in having won three of their last four league outings, cut JC’s margin to 37-30 with just over four minutes to play in the period, with JC making some of that difference up late in the half as JC led 49-38 at the break.
TJC chipped away at the Jag advantage in the second half, cutting JC’s margin to just three points on two occasions, thanks to the strong play of Malcolm Moore who paced TJC with 17 points (10 in the second half).
Moore did most of his damage from close range as the Apaches were forced to go to their inside game, having little success (1-of-17) from beyond the arc. On the flip side, the Jags torched the twine at a 36.3-percent (8-of-22) clip.
A put back by R. J. Samuels that occurred with 11:04 to go shrank JC’s lead to 59-56.
But the Jags came right back by reeling off a 9-2 run that made the score 68-58 with just under nine minutes showing on the scoreboard.
The Purple and White’s progression was capped off by a trey from the right wing off the hand of Hill.
TJC was able to get within seven points briefly (68-61) before the Jags engineered a 10-2 run to move in front by 15 points, 78-63, with just over three minutes left to play.
The run seemed to finish off the Apaches who failed to mount a serious threat in the closing minutes of the game.
JC returns to action Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. when they head to Athens to face Trinity Valley.
By Jay Neal