URBANA — Verdell Jones Jr. wasn’t fazed by what Crispus Attucks (Ind.) boys’ basketball brought to town Friday night.
The 2017 and 2018 state-champion Tigers out of Indianapolis possess ample scoring, rebounding and defending options, led by Western Illinois signee Sincere McMahon.
“No doubt about it,” Jones said when asked if he recognized just how potent Crispus Attucks could be. “But I personally thought we were ready for this.”
The host Tigers looked it for the opening eight minutes.
But a 12-0 run by two Crispus Attucks bench members sparked the visiting side to an 82-65 success at Oscar Adams Gymnasium.
“This is beautiful,” Jones said, “because it shows the glaring weaknesses we’ve got to shore up in order to make a run at the end of the year.”
On this night, the biggest deficiency for Urbana (7-8) came in the paint.
Crispus Attucks (8-3) outrebounded its opponent 30-18 and finished with 26 two-point field goals from eight different athletes.
McMahon produced 19 of his game-high 23 points after halftime. This followed Chris Chin and Qu’shawn Ware erupting for 12 unanswered second-period points to turn a nine-point deficit into an advantage Crispus Attucks never would relinquish.
“Once we put in some bench guys, they were able to get us right,” Crispus Attucks coach Chris Hawkins said. “And then third, fourth quarter our starters were able to push us through.”
Bryson Tatum’s 20 points and Chris Cross’ 18 points weren’t enough to offset four of McMahon’s teammates also finishing in double figures scoring as Crispus Attucks followed up on a 95-81 win over Urbana last season.
“The game’s played over four quarters,” Jones said. “It’s not about how you start. It’s always how you finish.”