Photograph by Valerie L. Cason, 7/8 Productions

A weekend road trip to South Florida didn’t phase a red-hot Jacksonville Giants basketball team. Jacksonville defeated rival South Florida Gold 131-122 at JC Carter Park. The Giants improve to 10-2 on the season and have won eight straight games.

“We came out with a tough win because of our ability to sustain toughness,” said Giants head coach Jerry Williams.

Jacksonville will now turn their attention to a big matchup on Saturday, February 11, as they take on the Baltimore Hawks at the Jacksonville Memorial Arena. The game will be featured as Medical Appreciation Night, with a pregame party beginning at 6:00 pm and game-time at 7:30 pm.

Bernard Nugent had yet another breakout game for Jacksonville as the point guard scored a team-high 25 points in the win. Nugent also assisted the team on the defensive side of the ball with multiple steals throughout the game. Robert Hornsby rounded out the top scorers for the Giants with 16 points.

“It was a tough game,” said Williams. “The referees were very inconsistent with calls on both sides.”

Early in the contest, the Giants were challenged by a tough Gold team. Both Sims and Wilson gave the Giants issues on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Sims scored 19 points with Wilson scoring 18 points.

“South Florida is a solid team,” said Giants assistant coach Marcus Thomas. “We played ok but not well enough to be satisfied.”

The Giants were able to respond in the second half in order to regain the lead and stay in control. Elijah Smith and Jermaine Bell helped Jacksonville with strong inside play. Smith scored 14 points on the evening while Bell connected for 15 points. Guards Ed Horton and Maurice Mickens scored 12 points each, while captain Jerrod Tucker added 13 points.

Despite the win, the Giants still feel that they have to keep working harder and continuing to improve.

“All wins aren’t good wins,” said Horton. “We have a lot of work to do.”