Augusta gets a 74-64 Peach Belt win over Columbus State

Tyshaun Crawford goes up for two of his 11 points in AU’s 74-64 win on Military Appreciation Day. (photo by Viraj Bulla)

Staff report |

Sophomore guard Miguel Arnold scored 16 points, and senior forward Rafael Monteiro had 15 and six rebounds as the Augusta Jaguars took a 74-64 win over Columbus State on Saturday, Feb. 1, before a Military Appreciation Day crowd of 2,209 at Christenberry Fieldhouse.

AU (8-4, 13-7) avenged a 61-60 loss at Columbus on Jan. 20. Arnold and Monteiro got plenty of help from the other Jaguar starters, as guard Tyree Myers had 13 points, and  Tyshaun Crawford and Troy Cracknell had 11 each.

The leading scorer for the Cougars was Anthony Moore, who had 25 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Bryant Givens had three assists and three steals for the Cougars. Jalen Thomas and Stanley Taylor both fouled out for Columbus State.

The Jaguars shot 53 percent for the game and held the Cougars (7-5, 12-8) to a 43-percent clip. Augusta had a narrow board edge at 31-28.

Rafael Monteiro (22) spins for a reverse layup. (photo by Viraj Bulla)

In the first half, Augusta built a 12-5 lead, but the Cougars fought back to tie the game at 16. Myers and Arnold led a 13-4 run to push the lead to 29-20 in favor of AU. By halftime, the lead was 40-26. Arnold scored 11 of his points in the first half, and Myers and Crawford added eight apiece for the Jaguars, who shot 64 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, including 57 percent from three-point range. Hunter Preston was the top scorer for the Cougars in the first half with eight points. Preston finished with 10.

Coming out of the locker room, the Jags started off the second half a little slow. Myers got a quick foul, his third, and AU Coach Dip Metress had to take him out of the lineup. While he was gone, Columbus State climbed back into the game, cutting the AU lead to 49-43.

That’s when Metress re-inserted Myers back into the Jags’ lineup, and the sophomore guard from Baltimore, Md., promptly stole the ball for a fast break layup. This sparked up the offense and defense for the Jags.

Arnold got most of his points off of threes (he was 4 of 6 on treys), and Cracknell began to make a stand from downtown. Furthermore, sophomore guard Darren Lucas-White came off the bench and scored four quick points for the Jags, one being off an incredible reverse layup.

With this win, the Jags break the tie with Columbus State for fourth place in the conference, taking sole possession for themselves.

“After Georgia College (a three-point Jaguars’ loss), I was really on our three sophomore guards to be more aggressive,” Metress said in his office after the game. “They were aggressive tonight, and we need them to be aggressive because of the way Tyshaun and Rafael are being guarded.”

At times, Crawford was triple-teamed, and the Cougars were very physical in the post in general.

It was the second straight game where Arnold got his shooting touch going after scoring 16 in the 79-71 win at USC Aiken on Jan. 29.

“I think I played really well,” Arnold said in the AU locker room. “I’ve been playing badly lately, but I was able to pick it up. Thank God I played well today.”

Monteiro was happy with Augusta’s performance, including at the defensive end.

“They threw some different defenses at us,” Monteiro said. “We tried to read it and get the best play for us. On defense, I tried to give help and take some charges.”

It was difficult for the Cougars to penetrate all game as Monteiro and his teammates cut off the driving lanes from the help side.

In the women’s game, Columbus State, behind Valeria Merlos’ 16 points, gained a 71-59 win over Augusta. Merlos got help from Aujana Dawkins with 12, Kaihla Carter with 10 and Eboni Williams with 10 points for the Cougars (9-3, 14-4). Keira Howard and Kennedi Manning led the Jaguars (4-8, 7-13) with 17 points each.

The Cougars registered a 26-10 first quarter to take control of the game, but AU fought back with a 23-14 advantage in the third quarter to make it a contest. Still, it was the sixth straight loss for Augusta.

Both AU teams will take the Christenberry floor on Wednesday, Feb. 5., against Lander. The women begin at 5:30 p.m. and the men at 7:30.

Guard Tyree Myers drives in for a layup after he stole the ball to give AU a 51-43 lead with 11 minutes to play. (photo by Viraj Bulla)