Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jones came through against Clemson

CLEMSON, S.C. -- "It's been a while."
Those were first words from Charlotte center Phil Jones after the 49ers' 82-72 upset victory over No. 18 Clemson on Wednesday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Since the season started, Jones, a 6-foot-10 sophomore center, has struggled to find his place with this new group of 49ers. He has shown moments of great potential and started several games early in the season but has struggled to find a consistent rhythm.

He lost playing time to freshman Gaby Ngoundjo, who has proved to be an effective defensive force under the basket. But always, Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz and Jones' teammates have encouraged him to continue to work hard, promising his effort would pay dividends.

It certainly did Wednesday. The first two times Jones touched the ball, he hit a dunk from a nice pass from Michael Gerrity, then scored off a rebound with a sweeping hook shot.

He played 17 minutes - the most since a Dec. 15 loss at Hofstra - and finished with eight points, three rebounds and two blocks.

"I have been a little nervous playing in the games and in turn I wasn't playing hard. Coach talked to me before the game tonight and told me to go out and have fun and play hard. That's what I did today," Jones said.

"From the tip, we set the tone right away. The last couple of games, we've allowed the visiting team to set the tone and we had to fight back. This game, we came out and hit them in the mouth."

Jones and his teammates hope Wednesday's game provides the same kind of confidence boost as freshman Charles Dewhurst has recently seen in his game.

"Phil ran the floor real well tonight. Played well on defense. I think that really helped his confidence," said guard DiJuan Harris. "Heading into the Atlantic 10 (conference play), we're really going to need him."

5 comments:

Jeff said...

A G R E S S I V E P L A Y !
Thats what we need from Phil.
Points and rebounds would be great, but he needs to bang some bodies around when he plays and make the other teams big men uncomfortable. When he played more early on, he'd grab and couple boards and have 1 or no fouls. I commit two fouls per game from the stands !
Time to break out Phil!!! Great job !

Jason said...

Wow. Was thrilled to read about this win (and hear about it in phone msgs from fellow 49er fans this morning). It's always sunny in South Florida (here), but especially after a game like that. Way to go guys... and thanks for the story, and the blog, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Great win! I can't wait until Saturday. Halton Arena better be packed. GO NINERS!

Anonymous said...

Phil Jones played incredible last night. The key is to have fun, because no one can stop that. Great job phil! and great blog Jim!

Anonymous said...

It's great to have Jones producing. Now, what would it take to get Bobby to play Gerrity?