ALGONQUIN – The first time Jacobs faced Crystal Lake Central this season in December, it was manhandled and suffered a 23-point loss.
Tuesday night's Fox Valley Conference rematch between the teams was a different story.
This time, the Golden Eagles (9-11, 3-6 FVC) scored the game's first 10 points, held three separate 17-point leads and held on for a 64-57 victory, which also bumped Central (12-6, 6-2) out of first place.
The story was the hot hand of Jacobs senior guard Matt McCoy, who finished with a game-high 25 points, thanks to his 6-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.
"The first time around (against Central), we just had a rough game," McCoy said. "We were still learning how to play against zone defenses, and tonight, we attacked their (1-2-2) zone well. Our guys found me in my spots, so I knocked my shots down. It was great to get that win."
McCoy also came up big down the stretch. With a little less than a minute left in the fourth quarter, the Tigers trimmed Jacobs' lead to four. But that's as close as Central could get, as McCoy knocked down five of his six foul shots in the final 31.6 seconds.
It didn't hurt that Jacobs dished out 18 assists, shot 52.5 percent from the field (21 for 40), and outrebounded the Tigers, 25-24.
"Tonight there was just a different feeling from our guys," Jacobs coach Jimmy Roberts said. "Because of the different lessons we've learned and the things we've been through. Growth and experience takes time. I just kind of had a feeling coming into this one, we were going to find a way. We've been in a lot of situations similar to this recently, but until now, couldn't pull through.
"And it wasn't just the final moments. All our guys made big plays. Central went on an 11-0 run to cut it to six (with 4:13 left in the fourth), then Keshaun (Lyons) hit a momentum-stopping 3 in the corner. Then we got a layup from Andrew Balkcom. And the possession after that, we got a layup to Jaden Henderson."
All eight Jacobs players who saw action had assists. With the loss, Central is now a half-game behind Dundee-Crown (15-3, 7-2).
"We're just in some kind of an offensive funk right now since Christmas," Central coach Rich Czeslawski said. "Teams sense that, too. We're having trouble putting the ball in the basket early. We dug ourselves a huge hole. And they attacked us really well."
Central got a team-high 22 points and 14 rebounds from senior center Alex Timmerman and 10 points from Ryan Mendoza. Aside from Timmerman and Will Welder's four rebounds, however, no other Central player had more than two boards.
"We gave Jacobs way too many second-chance looks," Czeslawski said. "Combine that with how well they shot the ball, and this was the end result."
STAR OF THE GAME
Matt McCoy, Jacobs, sr., G
McCoy shot 6 for 11 from 3-point range and tallied a game-high 25 points.
8: Different Jacobs players who had an assist during Tuesday's win.
AND ANOTHER THING…
The loss by Crystal Lake Central gives Dundee-Crown a half-game lead in the win column for first place in the FVC.
Jacobs 64, Crystal Lake Central 57
Crystal Lake Central 11 10 10 26 – 57
Jacobs 21 10 11 22 – 64
Crystal Lake Central (57): Timmerman 8 6-7 22, Mendoza 4 2-2 10, Welder 3 0-0 6, Pokora 2 0-0 6, Cassell 1 1-5 3, Dungey 1 0-0 3, Williams 1 1-2 3, Seegers 1 0-0 2, Lerum 0 2-2 2. Totals: 21 12-18 57.
Jacobs (64): McCoy 7 5-6 25, Henderson 8 2-5 20, Hayes 2 0-0 5, Balkcom 1 2-2 4, Ramsey 1 0-0 3, Lyons 1 0-0 3, Anderson 1 1-2 3, Leahy 0 1-3 1. Totals: 21 11-18 64.
3-point field goals: Jacobs 11 (McCoy 6, Henderson 2, Lyons, Ramsey, Hayes), Crystal Lake Central 3 (Pokora 2, Dungey).
Total team fouls: Jacobs 19, Crystal Lake Central 16.
Fouled out: None. Technical fouls