CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa They buried their previous game just in time to bury Class 4A's 10th-ranked team.
You can call a 64-55 win over Cedar Rapids Xavier Tuesday night a rebound for Jefferson. Or a redemption or whatever.
Lots of good words fit here, just as lots of bad words fit a surprising loss Saturday night to Marion.
"Oh, man, that was horrible," said Jefferson's Ky Kramer. "It was kind of embarrassing the way we played. We just had to come out tonight and prove ourselves."
The J-Hawks (4-1, 2-0 MVC) rallied from nine points down after a quarter to give Xavier (5-1, 1-1) its first loss. They're not a deep team, which may have played into that 14-point loss to Marion, Coach Stu Ordman said.
"We were absolutely exhausted," he said. "If we don't play all out, we're not very good. We had a physical game (last Tuesday) against Dubuque Wahlert, and I played six guys. ... Then we had a real emotional, physical game (Friday) against Linn-Mar. We had nothing left against Marion. But the guys regrouped. Xavier is formidable. They've got athleticism, they have shooters, they have post players. So we just tried to hang in there."
As usual, Kramer, Creighton Robinson and Jacob Olson did most of the offensive damage. Kramer finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, Robinson 14 and six.
Then there's junior point guard Olson, who looks like he's 12 but has a considerably grown-up game. He had 22 points in a head-to-head matchup with fine Xavier point guard Trey Sampson, taking over late in the fourth quarter with back-to-back hoops to extend a two-point lead to six.
He reminds you more and more of his brother, Taylor, an all-stater now a freshman at Kirkwood.
"I think I've matured a lot," Jacob said. "Last year, I got to learn from my brother, just watching him and then coming in for him. He always gives me tips. I look up to him and try to do what he does, really."
Matt Nelson had 19 points for Xavier, taking advantage of his 6-foot-8 frame and six-inch edge,. Sampson had five 3-pointers and 18 points.
"We have to understand what type of team we have. What we can do, what we can't do," Ordman said. "Once we get a better understanding of that, we might be able to pose problems for other teams. But if we get away from the type of team we are, we're not very good."
Notables from the game included just 12 combined turnovers, five by Jefferson. The J-Hawks nailed 18 of 20 free throws and 7 of 13 3-pointers.
They also outrebounded taller Xavier by a 28-25 edge. It's the first loss of former Iowa Hawkeyes guard Ryan Luehrsmann's coaching career.
Retiring KCRG sports director John Campbell was given a standing ovation as he was introduced pregame.