Saturday the Terrence Jones we all know and love emerged at the PMAC in Baton Rouge. This was the Terrence everyone, Terrence included, expected to see all season long. The one who worked on his game and improved on his solid freshman numbers of 15 points and 8 rebounds.
He did that and then some against LSU, going for 27, 9 boards, 1 dime, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, as the Tigers were powerless to stop him. The only thing more impressive than what he did was how he did it. His game oozed of efficiency. He played 30 minutes, was 10-16 from the field, and seemed to be connected, in the flow, the entire time he was on the court. He showed the necessary focus that has sometimes eluded him in this up and down (not spending a lot of time on the finger, but not dismissing it either) sophomore season he’s had to this point. The hustle was there on the defensive end. He raced down court on one of his blocks and erased a would be LSU layup, sprinted back to the other end and was rewarded for his effort with an easy bucket. That sequence was just a snapshot of the game he had Saturday and the type of versatility he’s capable of displaying night in and night out. He’s laid a nice foundation for himself to build on the remainder of the season.
The first opportunity to build comes tonight as Tennessee (10-11, 2-4 SEC) visits Rupp Arena. The Vols are looking for their first road win of the season. They gave UK all they wanted in Knoxville a couple of weeks ago before losing 65-62. They will no doubt try to play a similar grind it out, ugly, defensive, keep it close kind of game tonight if they can. As far as Jones is concerned, he gets another shot at Tennessee’s beefy big men, particularly freshman Jarnell Stokes.
Jones downplayed Stokes’ impact on the game in Knoxville. I’m not trying to get into Terrence’s mind, but we saw what we saw. They played each other to a stand still, and it seemed as if Baby Unseld frustrated Jones at times. As Stokes continues to learn on the fly, he is being learned about at the same time. There’s a little more of a book on him now since he has some college games under his belt. As he scouts, he’s being scouted. Should be interesting.
Final random thought, Darius Miller talked the other day about how he felt like the team could still continue to improve. He’s on point with that, if Jones has found his groove and is able to stay in it, if Darius continues to remain aggressive, key word CONTINUES, like he has these last few games, and if Teague ever half way makes teams pay for daring him to take open jumpers, look out.
If you missed the write up on Cats/Vols Jones/Stokes round 1 check the link http://hardyboysportsblog.com/2012/01/17/whew/.
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