Whatever Jacobs boys basketball coach Jim Roberts said to his team at halftime of Wednesday's Fox Valley Conference matchup against host Crystal Lake Central worked.
Trailing the Tigers 23-21 at halftime, Jacobs outscored Central 34-20 in the second half and opened FVC play with a 55-43 win.
"We played good defense and came out with great energy in the first half. We just needed to make shots in the second half," said Roberts. "We made shots and kept playing good defense in the second half. It was classic Jacobs defense. It was a great way to start the conference season with a good road win against a very good Central team who should compete for the conference championship."
To start the second half, the Golden Eagles (4-2, 1-0) erased the 2-point deficit immediately with a 9-0 run.
Three-year starter Ryan Phillips buried a 3-pointer and scored on a layup for 5 points while Kam Mack connected on a 15-footer and Jo Price scored on a putback as Jacobs took a 30-23 lead with 5:14 left in the third quarter.
Central's first points of the second half came on a 3-pointer from Alex Timmerman to make the score 30-26. Deonta Dungey followed with a trey to pull the Tigers within a point at 30-29 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
Crystal Lake Central (2-4, 1-1) couldn't get any closer.
Jacobs' biggest lead was 50-36 with 2:11 left in the contest after a driving layup from Daniel Murray.
Landing four players in double digits, Phillips led the way for the Golden Eagles with 15 points including two 3s.
"We played Jacobs basketball tonight," said Phillips. "We played with great energy and passion. We bounced back from a tough loss to Warren where we didn't play well. We were aggressive on defense for four quarters and made shots in the second half. It was a good way to start the conference season."
Ajani Rodriguez added 12 points with 6 assists and 5 steals for the winners.
"My main job is to distribute the ball to all our scorers," said Rodriguez. "When I have an open shot coach Roberts encourages me to shoot. Even when we were down at halftime we were confident we could come back."
Murray (8 rebounds) and Nik Balkcom (8 of 8 from the free throw line) added 10 points each for the Golden Eagles.
"I really like our balance," said Roberts. "We have a lot of kids capable of scoring over 20 points any night. We have a lot of options at the offensive end."
Dungey led the Tigers with 15 points while Timmerman tallied 14 points with 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
"We stopped competing in the second half and that is disappointing," said Central coach Rich Czeslawski. "Jacobs is a very talented team that is used to winning."