By PAUL GOTHAM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Jonathan Jones scored 12 second-half points including a pair of pivotal 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter, and the Monroe Redjackets defeated the McQuaid Jesuit Knights, 76-66 in RCAC Division A action at School No. 33, Tuesday night.
With the win, Monroe swept the season series with their league rival.
“First time ever,” said 14th-year Monroe coach Matt McCormick of the season sweep. “It’s a nice feeling. Last year we took it pretty hard on the chin at their place. Then we came here and we were up at halftime by maybe 22, and we lost in overtime. Winning tonight here is special.”
Jones all but cemented the victory with 3-balls on back-to-back possessions.
“Jonathan comes up with the big shot when we need it, and we needed those,” McCormick said. “The first one that he hit in the corner, we needed that. Jonathan knows what his game is. When he’s in his game, he’s that catch-and-shoot guy. It’s kinda hard to stop.”
The shots were nearly carbon copies of each other. The senior forward connecting both times from deep in the left corner.
“We saw something in the corners,” McCormick explained. “McQuaid helps a lot on the ball screen. We starting spread some stuff out. Started going with some high ball screens. We found Jonathan.”
The buckets were the third and fourth of the night from long range for Jones who finished with 17 points – more than six over his season average of 10.8 but seven off his season-high of 24.
“I was just playing my game,” Jones said. “That’s my shot, the corner shot. I was open. Took it. These two wins are the first time of me beating McQuaid at anything.”
Chris Gibson, Jr. paced the Monroe offense with 20 points. The senior forward has been on varsity since his freshman year.
“Never beaten McQuaid since I started playing,” Gibson noted. “To beat them twice, especially at home, it feels great.”
Monroe improved to 6-3 on the season and 4-1 league play. More importantly, the second-place Redjackets put two games between themselves and third-place McQuaid (4-6/2-2).
“It took everybody to be all in,” Gibson noted. “It started with defense. If we play defense, the offense is going to come. We just had to stay poised.”
Monroe held a seven-point at half. A basket in the lane from Ty Glasgow and a 3-pointer from Giovanniel Santiago pushed the advantage to a dozen early in the third quarter.
McQuaid’s Connor Zamiara converted a 2-on-1 break with Jermaine Taggart. Kobe Long followed with a floater outside the lane and a 3-pointer of his own on the next possession to cut the lead to four at 54-50 late in the third quarter.
Monroe still led by six when Jones connected on his back-to-back daggers.
“They’re resilient,” McCormick said of his team. “They’ve been in this position. At this point they don’t get rattled too often. They know no lead is ever safe for us. But no lead is such that we can’t catch somebody.”
Devante Mateo scored 12 points for Monroe. The junior point guard handed out three assists in the second half and forced the McQuaid to stop him off the dribble thus leaving options available on the perimeter.
— Paul Gotham (@PickinSplinters) January 10, 2018
“The thing with him is to get in the paint,” McCormick said. “He’s dynamic enough where he can make plays at the basket with both hands. He’s also very good at getting the ball not only to the that he’s going to, but he can go cross court to the corner with the pass. That’s our formula. If he can get in the paint, on a defense like this, good things will happen. It helps the guys. It just balloons from there. The confidence level just goes up.”
Ty Glasgow scored seven of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Santiago finished with six. Trevor Glasgow had four points. Chris Williams and Kerone Kearse had two points apiece.
Gibson has scored 988 career points.
McQuaid’s Long hit four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 20 points. Taggart scored nine of his 16 points in the first quarter. Zamiara and Anthony Iglesia scored 10 apiece. Josh Purcell added six. Jon Catone and Reuben Daniel chipped in two apiece.
*Article updated to include accurate scoring totals for Chris Gibson, Jr.