The Buccaneers improved to 15-7 overall and 9-3 in the Region XIV South Zone.

Blinn built an early 14-point lead, but the Jaguars continued to battle and were within two late in the half. A 14-6 second-half run finally put the Bucs safely ahead late, but Blinn head coach Scott Schumacher applauded Jacksonville’s fight from start to finish.

(Pictured: Blinn College sophomore guard Elijah Elliott, center, puts up a shot against Jacksonville College during a game Jan. 28)

“I thought we came out and played lights out, but we let up a little bit and Jacksonville got back in the game, and it was a dog fight the rest of the way,” Schumacher said. “I told Jacksonville’s head coach after the game that his team played really hard. We kept the lead at about 10 or 11 points for most of the game and Jacksonville just wouldn’t go away. That’s the type of effort you expect to see in this region every time you play, and I just told our guys afterward that a win is a win at this point in the season.”

The Bucs held a 38-31 lead at the half.

After a pair of free throws pulled the Jaguars within 65-59 in the second half, sophomore guard Jakari Marshall turned a rebound into a layup and sophomore guard Maurice Pinnock followed with a layup of his own to push Blinn’s lead to 69-59 at the 6:40 mark. Sophomore guard Marco Foster later drained two free throws to keep the run going. His layup with less than three minutes remaining preceded a dunk from freshman forward Jamine Charles and two free throws from sophomore guard Elijah Elliott which gave the hosts a 79-64 advantage.

“It was a conference game, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Elliott said. “We had guys come off the bench with great energy and that really helped. We can’t take anybody for granted in this conference, and everybody contributed to get the job done tonight.”

Elliott had a team-high 17 points, while Charles and sophomore guard Damian Watson added 11 apiece. Foster chipped in 10.

Blinn gets back to work with a non-conference tilt against the Houston Gladiators at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Kruse Center.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.