Central's Jones sizzles against rival Urbana
CHAMPAIGN — Central missed the 80-point mark in Tuesday night's Big 12 Conference boys' basketball game against Urbana, but that was about all the Maroons missed.
Coach Scott Davis' team made at least half of its shots every quarter and finished with 65 percent accuracy from the field (67 percent on three-pointers) in a 79-65 triumph against the Tigers at Cabutti Court.
Clayton Jones led the way for the Maroons with a game-high 26 points. He was 6 of 8 from beyond the arc. Davis liked more than the shooting percentage.
"The thing that was good was that the shots came within the offense," he said. "He didn't force any threes. When he's in rhythm, he's a heck of a shooter."
Jones also had a game-high seven assists, one reason post players Corvon Butler and Jordan Caroline were able to make 10 of their 14 shots and combine for 26 points, 14 by Butler.
"Our guards did a good job of penetrating and looking for the bigs," Davis said. "We have offensive weapons. Jordan is really developing."
What Urbana has, according to coach Vashoune Russell, is uncertainty. Though there were nine lead changes in a first quarter that ended with Central ahead 21-19, Russell found few pleasing aspects in the Tigers' fifth loss in six games.
"I'm looking for five starters after tonight," he said. "It's all up for grabs. They have Wednesday and Thursday to show me."
Darrion Brown scored 23 points for the Tigers and Michael Franklin grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, accounting for nearly half of his team's total of 22. Brandon Glass had four assists.
Russell said Jones' shooting prowess was no secret.
"One of my keys to victory was that if Jones was hot outside, he'd stay outside," Russell said. "Nobody understands that he's the guy you've got to guard and stay with."
Whether the outcome changes when Urbana returns to action Friday at Bloomington, there will be a new look.
"I said if they haven't seen 'Hoosiers,' they'd better get it," Russell said. "We're going to go to eight to 10 passes (before shooting). There was so much individualism out there."
Two free throws by Jones sent the Maroons ahead to stay 27-26 with 5:20 left in the second quarter. It was part of a 10-0 run for Central, which had its biggest lead, 77-59, on two more free throws by Jones with 5:32 remaining.
"The first 10 minutes or so, Urbana was playing with more energy and intensity," Davis said. "Corvon was giving us nothing. We challenged him, and he and Jordan responded pretty well.
"The one word I wrote on the board before the game was 'composure.' We were able to handle their pressure pretty well."