ALGONQUIN – Jacobs pulled a tag-team inside job on Chicago Tilden.
In the first half, 6-foot-5 freshman forward Cameron Krutwig dropped 19 points on the Blue Devils. In the second half, it was 6-5 senior transfer Robert Grant who dominated with all of his eight points and nine rebounds.
Those two combined for 13 of 16 on field-goal attempts as the Golden Eagles hit 60.5 percent for the game and defeated Tilden, 78-58, in Jacobs’ Hinkle Holiday Classic Thursday at the Eagles’ Nest.
The victory put Jacobs at 3-0 in Pool I and into the championship bracket for the first time since 2008. The Eagles (5-3) face Carmel (9-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in one semifinal. Zion-Benton (10-1) meets Larkin (12-1) in the 6 p.m. semifinal.
“We had watched their games and thought we could get it inside,” said Krutwig, who was 9 of 10 for 21 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. “The guards were giving me good feeds, and I just put the ball in the hoop.”
Jacobs coach Jim Roberts said Krutwig, whose brother Conrad was on the 2008 team that won the tournament, is one of the most skilled young players he has coached.
“Once he gets the ball down in the post, he’s very tough,” Roberts said. “The kids did a good job getting him the basketball. You don’t see a lot of players today who get the ball with their back to the basket and score.”
It was Grant’s turn in the second half, as he helped Jacobs control the boards with a 37-26 advantage.
“I felt a little weak in the first half,” said Grant, who played last year at South Elgin. “My teammates pick me up when I’m down,
so I give them credit for having my back. We have a chance to win this if we execute and focus. We have to be disciplined.”
Jacobs played most of the first half without point guard Chrishawn Orange, who picked up two fouls in the first two minutes. Guards Kenton Mack, Mike Canady and Ben Murray pounded it inside to Krutwig, who made things miserable for Tilden (5-6).
“We were slow on defense and we couldn’t stop the big fella,” Blue Devils coach Keith Johnson said. “We had a good run [in the second quarter], but we still couldn’t stop anybody. They were making their shots.”
The Eagles have a shot at the title bracket, just as they hoped when the pool brackets were drawn up.
“Coach calls this a radar game against a good team [Carmel],” Krutwig said. “If we win, we put our name on the map and people know how we’re doing.”