Jackson back in picture
Jackson have returned to their winning ways.
Now if only they can get back to the play-offs too.
Kevin Austin scored 15 second-half points, including 11 during a pivotal 22-6 third-quarter stretch, as British American Insurance Jackson remained in the “Hunt for October” by rallying from a half-time deficit in Wednesday’s 73-63 victory over Premier League basketball minnows Patriots at the YMCA.
With five regular season games left, the win put Jackson (10-5) in control of the fourth and final play-off berth, moving them one game ahead of the defending champion Cavs (9-6) who had recently snapped their seven-game winning streak.
But the result had even more serious implications for the lowly Patriots (4-11), as their lead over Cougars (4-12) for the league’s dreaded demotion spot has been reduced to a half-game.
And the Husbands side squandered a perfect opportunity to distance themselves in the demotion derby, having led by seven points (34-41) at the intermission following Stevenson Callender, Justin Gaskin and Omari Jackson’s open court exploits in the second quarter.
However, Patriots managed just six points over the course of the ensuing third – a total their opponents surpassed within the period’s opening two minutes – as Jackson scored five unanswered just to start the quarter.
Austin didn’t even get involved at that point, but quickly got in on the act via a pair of his trademark backboard jumpers and a baseline drive as part of a run that saw him account for six of the game’s next eight points.
Jackson eventually went ahead (47-45) six minutes into the third after Peter Alleyne went “coast to coast” for a nifty up-and-under layup.
This came prior to Austin and himself knocking down successive uncontested triples (55-45) to blow the contest wide open.
Javid Beckles added a wide-open three-pointer of his own on the other side of the break as Jackson led by as many as 14 (61-47) while Patriots’ offence fell apart due to the absence of anything resembling ball movement.
They did manage to mount a rally, but just briefly, with Walcott attacking the rack for seven straight points in a 9-4 run that got Patriots as close as seven (67-60) with 1:35 left.
But Alleyne emphatically put an end to the threat, twice embarrassing Callender on one-on-one moves to restore Jackson’s double-digit cushion.
The first came on a spin move that Alleyne used to blow right past his stationary defender, before he really humiliated Callender on the very next possession by sending the clueless Patriots guard lunging in the wrong direction on a behind-the-back dribble and pull-up jumper.
Alleyne finished with a game-high 21 points, while Beckles scored ten and Pearson Griffith added a double-double of ten points and 11 rebounds.
Walcott and Gaskin led Patriots with 17 points each and Callender had 11.