By Leeroy Francis Jr. |
Augusta University needed a late basket and a defensive stop to edge rival Paine College in the latest renewal of the City Classic on Saturday, Nov. 17.
Led by senior Tyvez Monore with 15 points and four rebounds, junior Rafael Monteiro with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and senior Deane Williams with 12 points and nine rebounds, the Jaguars (2-1) held on for a 64-62 victory after freshman guard Tyree Myers drove into the lane and made a heavily contested layup with only 15 seconds left in the game.
Augusta watched Paine (0-2) storm to a 13-2 lead at the opening of the game. The Lions came out of the gate scoring from the three-point line, making their first three treys, but the Jaguars settled down and took the lead 27-26 with 6:19 left in the first half on a three-point shot by Monroe. With solid decision-making and good team defense late in the first half, the Jaguars held the Lions to only three points the rest of the first half to take a 37-29 halftime advantage.
The Jaguars opened the second half with a three-pointer by Aaron Byrd on a nice inside-out play, but the home-standing Lions refused to go away. Going on a 7-0 run after the Byrd three-pointer, the Lions crawled back into the game eventually tying the game at 45 with 11:33 left in the game. AU inched back ahead by seven, but then the Lions roared back to tie the game at 60 with 1:44 left in the game.
With the game all square, Myers found Williams on a fast break and he converted for the go-ahead layup and a 62-60 AU edge. Then Paine made two free throws with 42 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Myers, who only had four points in the game, started on the right side of the floor, did a cross-over dribble and sprinted to the basket. His left-handed layup just had enough English on it to stay in the bucket for the two-point lead.
The Lions then tried to set up a final shot. Khalen Pickett tried to drive for game-tying basket, but he was cutoff and threw a wild pass in the left corner to Cameron Gaines, who launched a three-pointer. However, Gaines’ shot hit the back of the basket for a turnover. Paine stole a long inbounds pass, but the clock ran out to give AU the victory.
AU overcame foul issues for two starters, Williams and Aaron Byrd, both of whom had to sit huge stretches of the second half with four fouls each.
Junior transfer Monterio played a key role on defense for the Jaguars, taking four charges. Williams played only 30 minutes with two blocked shots, and Byrd had eight points and two steals but only played 19 minutes due to the second-half foul trouble.
The Jaguars controlled the boards battle throughout the game, outrebounding the Lions 40-35 while also committing five fewer turnovers than Paine (17 to 12).
Gaines and junior guard Charles Moore each scored 14 for the Lions. Gaines led the Lions in three-point baskets, going 4-6, and Paine was torrid behind the arc (9 of 17).
Despite the loss, Paine Coach Darryl Stinson saw a lot of good things from his team.
“We battled and never gave up,” Stinson said. “We did not get the win, but Augusta has an excellent coach and is a very good team. I am really happy with the way we executed on offense. Cameron Gaines really played well for us.”
The Jaguars’ next game is against Benedict College (1-3) on Wednesday, Nov. 21, in Christenberry Fieldhouse for the Jaguars’ first home game of the season. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Contact Leeroy Francis at email@example.com