Jones' clutch shooting propelled Saint Joseph's to a 66-62 win at Rose Hill Gym in the Bronx. The lead changed six times in the final 4 minutes, but Jones gave the Hawks the lead for good when he knocked down a pair with 33 seconds left. He scored 10 of the team's final 13 points.
"Words can't explain it," said Jones, who led St. Joe's with 19 points. "It's good to see my work in the gym finally paid off at the free-throw line."
Jones, who entered the game with the worst free-throw shooting numbers of his career at 63.5 percent, started his extra work at the stripe after a 4-for-11 night at the line against Duquesne on Jan. 12. With the help of assistant coach David Duda, and those 100 free throws per day, the senior feels like he has finally reclaimed his regular stroke. He has shot 21-for-26 (80.7 percent) since that game.
In a see-saw tussle, Jones kept finding the ball in his hands at crucial times. In the final minute, he twice headed to the line with St. Joe's down a point, and he hit the pair both times to put the Hawks ahead. While he missed one with St. Joe's ahead 64-62, he followed by connecting on both shots with 7.9 seconds left to put the Hawks ahead by the final tally.
"I've never said this to him, but if you go back over his career, there aren't a lot of big free throws that he made, places where he cinched things," St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "Come out, 7-for-8 in the last minute and something, that's what you are supposed to do if you are the leading scorer."
It was an important game for Saint Joseph's (12-7, 3-3 Atlantic 10) to follow its biggest win of the season last Saturday over Xavier. Fordham (6-15, 2-4) played tough, but St. Joseph's made one more play and shot better at the line down the stretch.
Said Jones: "It feels real good for our confidence moving forward."