After giving up 35 points in the first half, which included a 70-footer at the buzzer by Crystal Lake South's Eric Schiller, Jacobs boys basketball coach Jim Hinkle used the 10-minute intermission to preach defense.
The Eagles heeded Hinkle's halftime words of wisdom.
Holding South to 16 points and 6 field goals during the final 16 minutes, Jacobs rallied from a 35-29 halftime deficit to post a 55-51 victory in Fox Valley Conference Valley Division action in Crystal Lake Friday night.
"We knew they had the momentum after the long shot at the buzzer at the end of the first half, but we stressed at halftime we have to play better defense," said Hinkle. "We gave them way too many easy looks and way too many easy shots. We were much more aggressive in the second half with our defense."
South continued the momentum gained from Schiller's buzzer-beater into the third quarter and grabbed a 42-33 advantage after a pair of free throws by Nick Geske with 3:55 left in the third.
Jacobs (10-11, 4-2) methodically whittled away at the lead and got to within 3 of the Gators at 45-42 after a twisting 10-footer in the lane by Chrishawn Orange at the buzzer to end the third quarter.
The Golden Eagles seized the lead for good 50-49 on a conventional 3-pointer by Lake Ojo with 2:52 remaining. Ojo's putback basket along with the ensuing free throw gave Jacobs a 1-point lead.
Ojo, who scored 7 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, also grabbed 12 rebounds.
"My main job is to crash the boards and get rebound baskets," said Ojo. "We played better defense in the second half."
Will Schwerdtmann chipped in with 12 points including a huge 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
"I feel like as a captain of this team I let the team down on Tuesday," said Schwerdtmann, who was suspended for the Golden Eagles' loss to Prairie Ridge due to a flagrant foul in Jacobs' previous game. "I was really ready to play tonight and wanted to step up."
Orange added 10 points for the winners.
Like Jacobs, South (6-12, 1-5) landed 3 players in double figures led by Geske with 15 which included 3 treys. Austin Rogers and Schiller scored 11 points each for CLS.
"They packed in their defense in the second half and we got a little 3 happy," said Gators coach Matt LePage. "We didn't get a lot of easy shots in the second half because their defense was pretty tough. "