BOYS BASKETBALL: Josh Jackson's fast start, helps Consortium cruise to a 72-57 win over Arthur Hill
DETROIT - When the doors to the Detroit Consortium's newly renamed Al Anderson Gymnasium opened up, fans rushed to get themselves a good seat.
Whenever Michigan head basketball coach John Beilein and Michigan State head man Tom Izzo take in the same game, it must be a good one.
The game featured the state's top junior, Eric Davis of Saginaw Arthur Hill and the top freshman, Brian Bowen of Arthur Hill. While Consortium's Josh Jackson is the top sophomore in Michigan.
Jackson got the best of the other two, as Consortium cruised to a 72-57 win over Arthur Hill.
"When we scheduled Arthur Hill we looked forward to playing them," Consortium coach Tobias Tuomi said. "We started talking about it after out last game and the guys just came out and played hard."
On a night where Consortium honored their late basketball coach Al Anderson, who passed away a year ago, the Cougars came out firing on all cylinders.
Jackson was lights out in the first half, helping them jump out to a 10-4 lead,when senior Ronald Booth tossed him an alley-hoop. Consortium capped off an 11-0 run, when Jackson hit a 3-pointer to give them the 18-4 lead with 2:30 left in the first.
"Josh is Josh," Tuomi said. "You guys got what you came to see. He played a really good game and at first he wanted to check Davis but I wanted to save that for a little bit later."
Jackson finished with 25 points on the night, doing most of his damage in the first half, with 19. Consortium pushed their lead to 40-21 at halftime, stunning Arthur Hill and the crowd.
"Every time he (Jackson) attacked, we knew they were going to close out on him," Booth said. "So he was just finding the open man, getting to the basket easy and that just opened it up for us."
Consortium (12-2) also did a good job defensively on Bowen and Davis especially. Davis was held to 17 points, most of that coming from the charity stripe.
"We saw how it was happening and it was happening on defense," said Tuomi. "We guarded our butts off and we played one of best games rebounding the basketball. We rebounded the leather off that thing, so I'm happy with defensive rebounding."
Arthur Hill (12-4) may have been feeling the affects of their 70-64 loss to rival Saginaw, not to mention being without senior guard Deionte Lee.
"Playing a team like them in less than 24 hours after losing to Saginaw, we didn't come out with the energy we needed to," coach Greg McMath said. "But this is what builds of character and makes you a better team down the stretch and I like how we kept fighting."
Consortium pushed their lead to as much as 31 early in the forth quarter, without Jackson having to score. Along with Booth's 14 points and 5 assists, Rudy Smith got it going offensively, scoring 14 and Mykel Tyson chipped in 8 points.
"I was just trying to go to the whole strong," Booth said. "I was trying to either finish, or get my teammate involved, or just stop for the pull up."
Martel Handley came off the bench to score 11 for Arthur Hill, while Bowen finished with just 7 points for a team that has been going through a lot, on and off the court. But despite all of that, the Lumberjacks will still be a forced to be reckoned with in March.
"It's been so emotional around the city with the schools closing or merging," McMath said. "I could see it on their faces that they were tired. And it was a tough challenge coming in here and playing them."