HomeSportsNo. 2 Augusta Opens at Home with 70-54 Win Over Fayeteville State

No. 2 Augusta Opens at Home with 70-54 Win Over Fayeteville State

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National player of the year candidate Tyshaun Crawford scored 26 points, snagged 12 rebounds and blocked 3 shots for Augusta in a 70-54 win over Fayetteville State Sunday afternoon. Crawford made all eight of his free throw attempts for Augusta, which came into the home opener ranked No. 2 in the nation after last season’s national runner up finish, and a 2-0 start for the season on the road last weekend.

Augusta played all but one possession of the game without star sophomore Ja’Queze Kirby, who is fighting an injury and couldn’t stay on the court Sunday for any length of time. Nineteen year head coach Dip Metress commended Darren Lucas-White and Timmy Sellers for their contributions off the bench on both ends of the court.

“Timmy did a great job on defense,” Metress explained after the game. “He’s like the ultimate teammate. And Darren was dynamite rebounding out there late. Those are the ones Kirby usually gets.”

Even without Kirby, Augusta performed admirably for the 1,637 fans in attendance for Augusta’s first regular season home game since the Jaguars clinched the Southeast Region championship last March. The current Jaguar core has played together for the better part of four (in some cases five) years. The cohesion of the group revealed itself Sunday in the team’s showing on the defensive end, where Augusta held Fayeteville State to 34% field goal shooting and a measly four made free throws.

Senior Tyree Myers scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, and another senior, Miguel Arnold, scored 11 points in the win. Myers is the school’s all time leader in assists and Arnold holds the same top spot in three pointers made. Myers, Arnold and Darren Lucas-White combined to make a string of plays early in the first half to tie the game at 18 after Fayetteville State had sprinted out to a 16-10 advantage.

First Myers Myers cut the lead to 3 by nailing a three pointer off of an assist by Timmy Sellers, who had just grabbed an offensive rebound of his own miss. Then Arnold came off a screen and made one of his 2 three pointers for the game to cut the deficit to 18-16. Soon after Lucas-White drove baseline and converted a reverse layup with his left hand to tie the game at 18 with 10:26 left in the first half.

Augusta and Fayeteville State traded leads for much of the rest of the first half, but the Jaguars were able to finish with a 8-2 run and take a 40-32 lead into the intermission.

Halftime brought a special opportunity to dedicate the new Clint L. Bryant court in honor of the university’s recently retired athletic director of 34 years, and head basketball coach of 9 years. Coach Bryant was greeted at half court by a large contingent of his former men’s basketball players from the 1980’s and 1990’s Jaguar squads.

Augusta opened the second half with 16-4 run to take a 56-36 lead before the under 12-minute timeout. David Viti, Myers, Sellers, Arnold and Crawford all scored during the decisive stretch that put the game out of reach.

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