The Augusta University Jaguars (9-0) continued their undefeated run to begin the basketball season, beating the Paine College Lions (3-7) 84-63 on Monday, Dec. 13 at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
It was more of the same for the Jaguars, as juniors Miguel Arnold and Tyshaun Crawford led the team in points as they have so often this season.
Crawford leveraged his size advantage repeatedly during the game, opening with two dunks and a blocked shot in rapid succession. He had three inches over every Paine College player, and it showed in this contest.
Arnold and sophomore David Viti rained down three-pointers in the first minutes of action, and the score was 15-5 in a blink.
Paine freshman Quinnton Jackson stopped the bleeding for Paine with a three of his own, but Viti fired back with another short jumper.
What Paine College lacked in raw size, they made up for with a twitchy, athletic defense that played the Jags closer than the two teams’ records indicated.
The swarming defense from Paine College and a couple of successful contested shots brought them within two, and they trailed 29-31 with 6:30 left in the first half.
Metress then deployed a lineup with both of his big men — Crawford and 6’8 sophomore Timmy Sellers — in with junior Darren Lucas-White, Cracknell and Arnold as the first half ticked down, further leveraging AU’s size advantage over the small but scrappy Lion lineup.
It proved advantageous, as the three perimeter shooters were getting iced out beyond the arc when Lucas-White dumped it off to Sellers for an easy dunk with 1:16 left in the first half.
The halftime score was 43-34 in favor of Augusta.
After the break, Tyree Myers lobbed one up for a soaring Viti to jam in, and the crowd erupted. A Crawford blocked shot on the other end kept the energy up, and the score was 52-38.
The Lions’ athleticism kept them in the game to begin the second half. The Lions scooped up a few rebounds and steals to chip in easy field goals to bring the deficit to 10 with 11 minutes left.
However, Cracknell sank two three-pointers nearly back-to-back to extend the Jags lead to 20. The score was 69-49 with 5:40 left.
Crawford took back the spotlight as the game ticked on, hitting multiple contested put-ins and blocking shots on the other end of the floor as Paine attempted to mount the comeback.
With two minutes remaining and the game essentially in hand, Metress sat the entire starting lineup, a common practice of late given the large margins of victory the Jags have been earning so far this season.
The deficit proved too much for Paine College, and Augusta improved to 9-0 with a final score of 84-63. The first half was competitive, but AU’s size and firepower both in the paint and beyond the rim carried the day.
Crawford finished with seven rebounds and 14 points, and he remains the Jags’ chess piece that’s yet to be toppled.
Augusta University travels to Columbus State (8-1) for a Peach Belt Conference rumble next Monday, Dec. 20.