Welcome back, Mr. Jones. Big Blue nation has missed you.
Terrence Jones showed why he was a preseason All-American this year with a 27-point, nine-rebound performance in Kentucky's 74-50 win over the LSU Tigers.
While there's always the possibility that it could just be a one game aberration, if this is a sign of things to come, then the change is happening at just the right time: SEC play is in full swing and the tournament season is one month away.
Following another lackluster performance on January 24 against Georgia (five points, seven rebounds), many Kentucky fans were worried that Jones would never show the dominant and aggressive play that defined his outstanding freshman year and the early parts of this season.
Some people blamed the hand injury that he sustained on December 17 against Chattanooga, but Jones' streak of sub-par play began with his lethargic four-point, six-turnover loss to Indiana (Kentucky's only loss of the season so far) on December 10.
Today in Baton Rogue, Jones was doing the things that made the Big Blue Nation giddy with optimism for an eighth national championship: slashing through the lane, attacking the basket and finishing strong. He was also a force on defense, accounting for three blocks, the best one being when he swiped away what looked like an easy layup from LSU's Justin Hamilton early in the second half.
He even managed to shoot much better than he had been from the free throw line (60 percent on the year), going 7-8.
Anthony Davis also had a very solid game (16 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks), but the Cats are just happy to have him come away uninjured. Davis was the victim of multiple hard fouls by the Tigers, including a flagrant-2 from Malcolm White (for which he was ejected) that sent Davis crashing to the floor and almost caused a brawl between the teams.
Despite a late run in the first half by LSU, Kentucky held on and controlled the game the rest of the way. The win was expected, but seeing Terrence Jones play like we all hope and expected him to was the real take away from this game.
Here's to hoping this carries over to next week's match ups against Tennessee and at South Carolina.