Itawamba bounces away with two from Jones
By By Richard Strength/EMG-Laurel Leader-Call
Dec. 9, 2001
ELLISVILLE When Jones Junior College beat Itawamba by 17 points in the East Central Tournament, head coach Robert McInnis knew his Bobcats had taken advantage of a bad shooting night by the Indians.
There was no similar fortune in store for Jones Saturday as Itawamba downed the Bobcats by the identical 17-point margin, winning 78-61. The Lady Indians claimed a 59-53 victory over the Lady Bobcats in the early game.
Itawamba shot 51 percent from the field and utilized superior size inside to alter shots by Jones, holding the Bobcats to 32 percent shooting.
The Bobcats never led in the game, but the score was knotted at 11-11 with
14:51 to play in the first half. The Indians then exploded on a 22-2 run to go up by 20 at 33-13 with 6:33 left in the half.
Jones responded with an 18-7 streak fueled by 3-pointers by Chris Keys, McKinley Bethea and M.J. Johnson. Johnson's 3-point shot came at the buzzer and trimmed Itawamba's lead to 40-31. An effective press led to several steals by the Bobcats and Jones continued to chip away at the Indians' edge until a free throw by Johnson with 8:06 to play tied the score at 53-53.
Itawamba power forward Shun Jenkins re-entered the game at that point and scored the next four points on a slam and a layup. That sparked a 17-5
Indian run that ended with another dunk by Jenkins to provide Itawamba with a 70-58 bulge with 2:54 to play.
Jones would get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way. Jason Pannell scored a game-high 22 points for Itawamba to lead five Indians in double figures.
The Indians' starters accounted for 61 points. Itawamba also held a 48-34 advantage on the boards, led by Vaughn with 11 rebounds and Charles Slaughter with eight. Johnson paced the Bobcats with 15 points, while Nick Paige had 13. Bethea and Keys each added 10 points and were Jones' leading rebounders with 11 and six respectively. Itawamba improved to 6-2, while Jones dropped to 5-4.
Lady Indians 59
Lady Bobcats 53
Itawamba rallied to beat Jones with a game-ending scoring push. The Lady Bobcats had grabbed a 46-40 lead with five minutes left, but the Lady Indians closed with a 19-7 run to seal the win.
The difference in the game, however, was the wide disparity in free throw
opportunities. Itawamba made 26-of-44 charity shots, while Jones hit on 15-of-22 chances.
Lady Bobcat head coach Sandra Sumrall knows it's hard to beat an opponent
that makes more free throws than her team attempts.
shot too many free throws," said Sumrall. Itawamba's bounty of free throws helped the Lady Indians overcome a poor shooting game, which was forced by Jones' aggressive defense. Itawamba was held to 21.7 percent shooting from the field, making just 13 of 60 shots.