The Dragons beat Commerce 48-37 Friday on the road to secure hoops bragging rights in this series at least until December when these teams meet again.
Austin Thompson scored 16 points to pace Jefferson, which had lost two straight in this series.
“Obviously, it’s always good to beat your archrivals,” Jefferson coach Bolling DuBose said.
The Dragons and Tigers have now split the last six games. DuBose said that’s made for an interesting series.
“Obviously, we want to win every one of them and they do too,” he said.
Satchel Turpin added 11 points as the Dragons evened the season series following a 46-44 loss on Dec. 9 to Commerce.
Thomas McMillan led the Tigers with 19 points. Jefferson, however, contained Jonathan Book, who scored just five points. Book burned the Dragons last month with six three-pointers in a 22-point performance.
“We tried to take some of our taller players and get out on him and make him shoot over some taller players,” DuBose said.
Jefferson took control of the game in the second period, outscoring the Tigers 20-5 to erase an 11-9 deficit and take a 29-16 edge into the locker room. Dissatisfied with his team’s man-to-man defense in the first quarter, DuBose called for a zone press in the second quarter. The Dragons responded by forcing Commerce into turnovers and two 10-second violation calls.
“I really think that changed the tempo of the game for us,” DuBose said.
The Tigers, meanwhile, struggled to adjust.
“We lost our brain,” Commerce coach Chad Bridges said of his team’s abysmal second-quarter.
In addition to Book being bottled up, the Tigers failed to generate an inside game, with Robert Hayes, in particular, being limited to two points.
DuBose pointed out that the Dragons limited Commerce’s top three scorers to a combined 26 points Saturday.
Jefferson was coming off a season-high 83-point performance the previous night against Oglethorpe County.
Four different players reached double figures and 12 Dragons got into the scorebook as Jefferson rolled to an 83-48 victory at Independence Hall.
“I felt at Oglethorpe County we shot the ball really well,” DuBose said.
Thompson paced Jefferson with 16 points, followed by Tyler Patrick who added 13.
Tanner Williams and Lance Pass each enjoyed career-best nights with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Jefferson jumped out to an 18-2 lead over Oglethorpe County and never looked back.
“Jumping out quickly on them took them out of their game a little bit,” DuBose said.
The win avenged a 72-54 loss to the Patriots last year in the very same building.
“That’s a tough place to play, kind of a tough gym to play in,” DuBose said.