The Jefferson City Jays were down 4-0 in a blink of an eye Saturday against Mount Lebanon (Pa.).
It was a sign of things to come as the Blue Devils sprinted past the Jays for an 86-57 win in the third-place game of the Joe Machens Great 8 Classic at Fleming Fieldhouse.
"We just seemed flat," Jefferson City coach Mark Anderson said. "You can make excuses or whatever you want to say. We just did not play very well."
The first two baskets of the game happened in a span of eight seconds thanks to a pair of steals by Mount Lebanon.
Sterling DeSha put the Jays on the board with a layup a minute and a half into the game, but the Blue Devils got back to business and led 22-9 after the first quarter.
The Jays struggled against the full-court press and it led to 10 turnovers in the first eight minutes.
"That can't be what bothers us at this point," Anderson said. "Defensively they are coming and trapping you and we've had teams that have been doing that to us in half of our games or more."
A 3-pointer by Hayden Mitchell with 4:37 left in the second quarter gave the Blue Devils their largest lead of the first half at 33-14.
Mitchell made four 3s and scored a game-high 23 points.
The Jays battled back with a pair of Michael Appiah-Brefo free throws plus a layup and two free throws by Ben Folz cut it to 36-24.
Mitchell made the halftime lead 14 by knocking in a buzzer-beating jumper.
"We actually felt lucky to be down 14," Anderson said. "It felt like it was more like 25. We thought if we would come out in the second half and put together a little run all of a sudden we could be back in the game. Take nothing away from them, they are really, really good."
That run never came.
The margin was 20 just a little more than a minute into the second half and 65-37 by the end of the third quarter.
"We've got to learn that we can't show up not ready to play against anybody," Anderson said.
Jake Hoffman, who made the all-tournament team, scored 18 points for the Blue Devils. Blaine Gartley added 13 points.
Sean Loughran scored nine points and was named to the all-tournament team.
Leading the way for the Jays was Brennan Jeffries with 16 points. Ben Folz added 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Jeffries and Ryan Brooks were named to the all-tournament team.
The Jays finished better than fifth in the Great 8 Classic for the first time since finishing third in 2009, but dropped two straight games after a first-round victory.
"If we let this be good for us, it'll be good for us," Anderson said. "The two teams we played last night and tonight are really, really good basketball teams. They are phenomenal teams. We've got to learn some things from it."
Jefferson City (6-5) has another tournament next up on its schedule. The Jays face Joplin on Thursday in the Kaminsky Classic, hosted by Joplin.