A quick start by Jacksonville was more than enough to hold off Little Rock McClellan in a 77-67 win Friday night in the Devil’s Den.
The Red Devils looked far more fired up than the Lions in the early going as they continually beat the visitors to the punch.
Following a few fast breaks, Jacksonville suddenly had a 13-2 advantage midway through the first quarter over a very solid team.
“We had the energy early and I knew we needed that,” Joyner said. “I wanted to be able to give our guys a little rest since we’re playing these makeup games.”
LaQuawn Smith, Sergio Berkley, Devin Campbell and Tedric Wolfe all got involved early in the scoring.
Kanaan Jackson came on late when the Red Devils took advantage of a defensive shift by the Lions and began working the ball inside to Jackson. Jackson and Wolfe led the Red Devils with 17 points.
Jacksonville led by 20 points near the end of the third quarter, but had to survive a comeback by McClellan. The Lions pulled as close as eight points down in the fourth quarter, but could never put a real scare into the Red Devils.
“That’s a good team and I knew they’d make a comeback,” said Joyner. “That’s what a good team is going to do. They never stop pushing the pace and it was getting to us a little bit.”
Smith put the Red Devils back up by double digits when he followed his missed free throw for a rebound and putback while being the only Jacksonville player near the basket.
Five Red Devils scored in double figures in the win. Campbell scored 11 points, while Smith and Berkley each added 10 points.