Earl Jones scored 22 points and got 17 rebounds to help UDC send Virginia State to its first defeat of the season, 116-98, at Van Ness Center last night.

Virginia State is 6-1; UDC is 8-2.

The Firebirds took a 28-19 lead with 10:33 left in the first half and eight minutes later were leading by 18 points. It was 58-42 at the half.

After intermission, State's Darrell Stith made five straight points to cut the lead to 62-50. However, a basket by Kenny Payne and two dunks by Jones put UDC's lead back to 16.

A basket by Greg Carson with 5:26 remaining in the game put UDC over the 100 mark.

"We cut off their transition game," said Firebird Michael Britt, who led his team with 25 points. "We were trying to clamp down on their three best players."

Stith had 34 points to lead all scorers and Julius Norman had 24.

Jones had a strong second half after scoring only eight points in the first 20 minutes. And UDC forward Johnny Jones had 16 points in the second half.

The Trojans will have to figure out how to slow down UDC. They will face the Firebirds again on Jan. 17 in Petersburg. They also could face the Firebirds in the South Atlantic Division II playoffs in March, because the Trojans are favored the win the Northern Division of the CIAA.