Jones Leads Statesmen to Second-Round Win Over Georgetown
Kansas City, Mo.–Torren Jones (Sr., Chandler, Ariz., Sociology) was great in Wednesday’s first round, but he was absolutely spectacular Friday as he guided the William Penn men’s basketball team to an 87-79 second-round victory over #4 seed Georgetown (Ky.) at the NAIA Division I National Championships.
#1 seed WPU (32-3), out of the Duer bracket, avenged last season’s national quarterfinal loss to the Tigers (24-8) behind a 36-point, 11-rebound effort from Jones.
The Statesmen will now face #6 seed Langston (Okla.) in Saturday’s quarterfinals at 2 p.m. The tournament’s Cinderella, the Lions notched their second upset in as many rounds by defeating #2 seed Dillard (La.) 84-74.
William Penn was one-and-done in its first three appearances at NAIA Nationals Championships, but has now advanced to the quarterfinals in each of its last four trips (finals in 2012-2013 season).
Down 12-9 to open the game, the Statesmen answered with seven in a row. Georgetown would go on to lead twice more in the half, including holding a 24-23 advantage with 10:24 remaining. WPU then produced another 7-0 run, eventually extending the edge to eight points before settling on a 43-36 lead at intermission.
William Penn put the first points on the board in the second stanza, but the Tigers refused to go quietly. They managed their own 7-0 streak for a 56-54 edge, only to see the navy and gold get seven unanswered one more time.
GU closed to within two at 70-68 at the 6:50 mark, but the Statesmen had one final run in their back pocket–this time a 10-1 one–to lead by a game-high 11 points and they held off Georgetown down the stretch.
WPU outshot Georgetown 45.1%-41.2% and outrebounded the Tigers 44-41. The victors took advantage of their 13 offensive rebounds, outscoring GU 20-14 in second-chance points.
The Statesmen overcame a 4-for-21 effort from the perimeter by shutting out Georgetown from deep in the second period (GU had five trifectas before halftime).
Both squads were strong at the free-throw line, including William Penn shooting 19-for-23. The Statesmen only committed 12 turnovers (13 for the Tigers), but Georgetown managed to stay within striking distance with a 19-8 mark in points off mistakes.
Jones scored a tournament-high (and personal season-high) 36 points on 13-for-17 shooting (2-for-3 3-PT). The senior, who posted his 26th double-double of the year, was 8-for-9 at the line and also tallied two steals.
“Torren Jones is a special player who is putting on a display here at nationals that I hope continues tomorrow,” Head Coach John Henry said. “He put us on his back today with an unreal performance.”
Jarvis Haywood (Sr., Charlotte, N.C., Business Management) was not a factor in Wednesday’s opener, and while he was just 4-for-15 from the floor (0-for-7 3-PT), he found different ways to be an asset against Georgetown. He joined Jones in double figures with 14 points (6-for-8 FT).
Lionel Ellison (Sr., New Orleans, La., Kinesiology) just missed double digits with nine points in addition to two steals, while Charles Knowles (Sr., Chicago, Ill., Physical Education) was next with eight points.
Kevin Smith (Sr., Baltimore, Md., Physical Education), who had seven points and five assists, and Kordario Fleming (Sr., Memphis, Tenn., Physical Education), with six points and two thefts, were also big contributors for William Penn.
“We were not at our best today, including playing erratically at times,” Henry added. “We had a lot of gutty performances and stuck together through the end though. Beating a NAIA blueblood program like Georgetown is a big deal and something that means a lot to our program.”