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February 9, 2010
That's the kind of difference winning can make.
Jones averaged 35 points per contest during a four-game winning streak that catapulted the Bulls into contention for their first NCAA tournament bid since 1992. The outburst helped make Jones the new No. 1 shooting guard in the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.
Jones, a 6-foot-4 junior from Lake Wales, Fla., started his hot streak by scoring 46 points in a 109-105 overtime victory over Providence. He followed that up by collecting 28 points in a 76-74 overtime triumph over Seton Hall. Then he racked up 37 points in a 70-61 upset of Pittsburgh. Jones' torrid stretch culminated with a 29-point performance as the Bulls shocked host Georgetown 72-64.
Jones finally cooled off Sunday, going 3-for-17 from the field and scoring just 10 points in a 65-62 loss at Notre Dame.
"He got off to a really slow start," USF coach Stan Heath said after the Georgetown game. "I'm pulling out my hair -- all the hair that I have. And I'm saying, 'What play can I run?' Because if we don't get him involved, we're done. We're toast.'
"Once he got going, boy, he was really hard to stop. Obviously, we feed off him."
In other changes this week, Notre Dame's Luke Harangody and Texas' Damion James continued their tug-of-war atop the power forward rankings. The seniors have traded places at the top spot the past four weeks. This week, it's Harangody's turn to move to the No. 1 position after he averaged 28 points and 14.5 rebounds in victories over Cincinnati and USF. James averaged 13.0 points and 7.5 rebounds as Texas beat Oklahoma State and lost to Oklahoma.
Syracuse's Jim Boeheim moved to the top of the coach rankings following his team's victories over Providence and Cincinnati. Boeheim moved ahead of Michigan State's Tom Izzo after the Spartans lost back-to-back games at Wisconsin and Illinois.
Kentucky point guard John Wall, Ohio State small forward Evan Turner and Georgetown center Greg Monroe stayed atop their respective positions. Wall also maintained his status as the nation's No. 1 freshman.
The current rankings considered performances through Sunday's games. The rankings measure overall career performances as well as the results of the last week.
Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.