AU basketball teams suffer first Peach Belt Conference losses, at Lander

Senior Rafael Monteiro (22) led the Jaguars with 22 points and nine rebounds in the 88-82 loss at Lander University. (photo by Viraj Bulla)

By Carlos Rodriguez |
Sports writer

The Augusta University men’s and women’s basketball teams suffered their first Peach Belt Conference losses of the season at Lander University on Wednesday night, Jan. 8, at Finis Horne Arena in Greenwood, S.C.

The Jaguar women’s team lost 86-55, and later the AU men were defeated 88-82.

In the men’s game, sophomore center Tyshaun Crawford scored the first bucket in the opening minute. The lead changed hands several times, but Lander took control and gradually built its advantage. The Bearcats pushed their lead to as a big as eight after Tyler Brevard’s layup with 7:29 remaining in the half, but the Jaguars came back as AU sophomore Darren Lucas-White tied things up at 33 with under four minutes to go with a jumper. Then Lander countered and held a 43-36 lead at the half.

At the start of the second half, the Jaguars struggled to stop the Bearcats. Lander jumped out to an 11-point lead after a Sidney Robinson three-pointer giving them a 56-45 lead with 14:26 remaining. AU senior Rafael Monteiro trimmed the lead to four after converting on an and-one shot as the Jags trailed 63-59 with 9:27 remaining. Sophomore Miguel Arnold closed the gap even more after hitting a three to trim Landers lead to 65-63 with 8:03 remaining.

AU Coach Dip Metress was ejected after receiving his second technical with three minutes remaining in the game as his team was down 74-70. Junior Troy Cracknell gave AU some life after knocking down a three with 18 seconds left cutting Lander’s lead to 84-82. However, Lander had a late layup and two free throws, as the Bearcats hung on to win 88-82.

Leading AU was Monteiro with 22 points, 16 of those in the second half, and nine rebounds. Cracknell and Arnold both knocked down five three-pointers and finished with 19 and 17, respectively. Crawford recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

AU shot 51 percent overall and 48 percent from the three-point line, and the Jags held Lander to a 43-percent night. However, a major difference was 10 Jaguar turnovers, compared to only five for the Bearcats. Lander had 16 points off turnovers, compared to only four for AU. Augusta also missed 10 free throws.

Elijah Alston led Lander with 23 points, and Robinson added 14. Brevard and Deon Berrien each had 13 for the Bearcats.

The Jaguars’ record dropped to 3-1 in PBC games and 8-4 overall. Lander improved to 3-1 and 9-3.

In the women’s game, the Jags got on board first in the first quarter as freshman Kennedi Manning converted on a jump shot with 9:37 remaining. Both teams battled back and forth throughout the quarter but after free throw makes from freshman Ashleigh Boulin, AU led after one quarter, 15-12.

In the second quarter, Manning got on the board first again giving the Jaguars their biggest lead of the game at 17-12 with 9:46 remaining. At 7:33 the Bearcats capped off an 8-0 run after free throw makes from Jessica Harris to give them a 22-19 lead. AU regained the lead late in the quarter and held onto to lead Lander at the half 33-30.

The second half was totally different, even though AU scored first to start the third quarter. For the third time in the game, Manning got on board first after hitting a jumper to give AU a 35-30 lead with 9:39. At 6:53 the Bearcats took the lead after Tabitha Dailey converted on an and-one layup giving Lander a 40-37 lead. The Bearcats led the rest of the way, being up 59-47 after the third.

Lander hand a dominant fourth quarter, outscoring AU 27-8, leading to the 31-point win. The Jags were led by Manning, who recorded 12 points and five rebounds, and Kiera Howard, who scored nine and grabbed seven rebounds. Dailey led all scorers with 22 points, and Harris added 21 for the winners. The Bearcats shot 46 percent and held AU to 34 percent.

The Jags’ record fell to 3-1 in conference play and 6-6 overall, while Lander jumped its record to 4-0 and 9-3.

Up next both teams will head on the road again for another PBC matchup to take on Young Harris on Saturday, Jan. 11. The women start at 1:30 p.m. and the men follow after at 3:30.