JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville put four players in double figures and that balanced scoring helped the Red Devils post a 68-50 win over visiting Providence on Saturday night at Johnson Arena.
But it was the defense that Red Devils coach Chris Moore brought up when he spoke of the deciding factor in the game.
“Tonight was a game to send a message that we are a defensive team,” Moore said.
Following a last-second win over rival Floyd Central on Friday night, Moore knew his team could be ripe for a letdown.
“Games like that take a lot out of you, but they seemed in the right state of mind,” Moore said of his team. “It [an upset] can happen to anybody, I’m happy with the effort.”
The effort on both sides of the court was evident early on.
Sophomore Will Lovings-Watts led the way as Jeffersonville ran out to an early lead. The Red Devils led 7-4 when Lovings-Watts knocked down three straight field goals to make it 13-4 with 4:50 left in the first quarter.
Providence fought to keep it close and trailed 15-8 after a putback by junior Zack Johnson. The Red Devils then put together a 6-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by sophomore Kobe Stoudemire, to lead 21-8 at the 2:05 mark of the quarter
Providence got baskets from Johnson and junior David Wall to make it a single-digit deficit (21-12) with 20 seconds left, but the Red Devils closed out the quarter with three free throws by senior point guard Jacob Jones to lead 24-12.
Senior Tre Coleman, relatively quiet in the first quarter, made some noise in the second.
“Tre always plays hard, he loves to compete,” Moore said.
Coleman got the quarter started with an offensive rebound that led to two free throws. A steal and layup by Jones was followed by a steal and assist by Coleman on a Darrin Starks 3 as the Red Devils surged to a 31-12 lead less than a minute into the quarter.
Field goals by senior Alec Fougerousse and Johnson helped the Pioneers trim the lead to 15 (31-16) midway through the quarter, but Providence was unable to make up any more ground in the half.
Coleman scored on an assist by Jones, then Jones knocked down a 3-pointer. A steal and dunk by Coleman capped a 7-0 run and made it 38-16 late in the half. It was 42-21 before Providence senior Sterling Huber knocked down a 3 to make it 42-24 at the break.
“Defensively we did not do what we needed to do in the first half,” Providence coach Ryan Miller said. “They are an explosive team with so many weapons.”
The Red Devils started the third quarter on the sloppy side and Providence took advantage. Field goals by Johnson and Fougerousse, combined with a Huber 3-pointer, made it 44-31 at the 5:50 mark.
Jones helped the Red Devils right the ship. His field goal followed, by two steals and two assists on a pair of Lovings-Watts field goals, pushed the lead to 51-31 at the 4:45 mark.
Providence didn’t fold. A 3 by Huber made it 51-36 midway through the quarter, but the Pioneers could get no closer. Over the next three and a half minutes, Coleman scored seven points and the Red Devils led 58-38 going into the fourth quarter.
For the game, Lovings-Watts scored 17 points, Jones had 16 while Coleman added 15 and Starks had 11 to pace Jeffersonville (11-4). Providence (9-4) was led by Huber’s 13, Fougerousse added 11 and Johnson scored 10.
It was a match-up of first year coaches, both of whom have experienced early-season success. For Jeffersonville, ranked 17th in the all-class coaches poll, it was a second straight weekend in which a tough Saturday matchup followed a hard-fought conference and rivalry win just 24 hours prior.
Next up, Providence hosts Crawford County at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Jeffersonville hosts Hoosier Hills Conference-foe Columbus East at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.