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The trouble was that Jones' teammates were not contributing much, and while trying to stop Cal all by himself, Jones got into foul trouble. With 3:01 to go in the half, he got his fourth personal, and at halftime the Bears had a 52-38 lead.
Carey, who is in his second season at Reno, gambled by starting Jones in the second half, correctly figuring that the Wolf Pack had no chance of winning without him. The strategy worked, and Reno fought its way back to lead by three, before Cal again moved in front by one. Jones made a free throw to tie the score at 77 as time ran out.
At the start of overtime Jones controlled the tap and scored from underneath, and Reno never trailed after that. The final score was 89-81.
Playing more than a half with four fouls, Jones had scored 33 points, taken down 17 rebounds and blocked three shots. He was not nearly so fortunate Saturday night at San Diego State, where the Pack played its fourth game in six days and lost 113-88. Jones, denied the ball by a double-teaming defense, again got into foul trouble. When he picked up his fifth with 9:19 to play, he had only nine points and eight rebounds.
Jones was born in Alabama, where his mother was a high-scoring basketball player, but he grew up in Newark, N.J., where no one bothered to prepare him for higher education. He had no intention of going to college—he didn't even know what a JC was until a couple of years ago—and cut classes regularly.
Then, in the summer between his freshman and sophomore years at Bar-ringer High, he sprouted from a six-foot football player to a 6'6" basketball player, although he did not start playing for the varsity until he was a junior. Most of his high school glory came late, in all-star games. At the Seamco Classic in the Catskills he was a last-minute addition. His name was not in the program, and he did not start the game, yet he was named MVP over such future college stars as Bill Cartwright of USF and Bernard Toone of Marquette.
Suddenly a decidedly unstudious kid became college material. He had to go to summer school to get his "high school diploma," and then he headed for Reno, a recruit of Jim Padgett, the UNR coach at the time.
According to a resentful Jones, the NCAA did not start sniffing around until he became a star. The university insisted that according to the transcript sent by Barringer High, Jones had been graduated with a 2.0, or C, average. The NCAA investigators, although denied access to Jones' records by law, insisted that something was rotten in Reno. UNR was put on indefinite probation in September 1976. When the school relented and declared Jones ineligible, the NCAA changed the probation to one year.
But, as the NCAA now knows all too well, Nevada is an ornery state. Attorney Frank Fahrenkopf, a UNR grad and state chairman of the Republican Party, went to bat for Jones. Judge John E. Gabrielli, also a UNR alumnus, handed down an injunction forcing the school to let Jones play, which it did—with pleasure. Later, Nevada-Las Vegas Coach Jerry Tarkanian, who is having his own troubles with the NCAA, successfully used similar courtroom tactics. To NCAA sleuths, it will be the equivalent of San Quentin playing Sing Sing when the two Nevada schools meet next week.
Carey went out last spring and gathered some fair players to give Jones support: Guard Johnny High from Birmingham and Lawson State JC in Alabama; Guard Mike (Fly) Gray from Detroit and Lincoln Trail JC in Illinois; Forward Michael Stallings from Brooklyn and Colby Community College in Kansas. High and Gray each hit 12 of 19 shots against BYU and are known as "The Fly 'n' High Show."