Men’s basketball set to play conference foe Lander in the NCAA basketball tournament

Augusta’s Rafael Monteiro (22) was named all-conference first team and winner of the Elite 15 Award. (photo by Viraj Bulla)

By Carlos Rodriguez |
Sports writer

MBKB_NCAA_Division_II_bracket_2020(<–Click here)

After last week’s first-round loss in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament to Georgia College, Augusta University head coach Dip Metress wasn’t sure if the NCAA selection committee would still put the Jaguars in the Division II men’s basketball tournament. On Sunday, Mar. 8, at 10:30 p.m. the NCAA Division II basketball tournament selection show aired, and the AU men’s team was given the fourth seed in the Southeast Regional.

Augusta (21-8) will play a Peach Belt rival in the tournament as the Jaguars are set to play against fifth-seeded Lander (23-8) in the first round of the regionals.

Lander just captured the PBC Tournament Championship after defeating Columbus State 76-73. The Jaguars and Bearcats met twice this season, both picking up wins against each other on their respective home floor. In the first meeting, Lander defeated AU 88-82 and in the last one AU won 77-71. Combining the two games, both teams have scored exactly 159 points against each other, making this a very competitive matchup.

This is the second consecutive season that AU competes in the Division II post-season tournament. Last season, the team advanced to the Southeast Regional championship but suffered a loss to top-ranked Queens University.

The winner of the Lander-AU game will play the winner of No. 1 Lincoln Memorial against eighth-seeded Belmont Abbey. UNC Pembroke, another PBC team, also made the tournament as the No. 3 seed. The Braves will play sixth-seeded Catawba University. The winner will play the winner of No. 2 Queens vs No. 7 Southern Wesleyan.

All games will be hosted by the top-seeded Lincoln Memorial. Games will start Saturday, March 14, at B. Frank Tex Turner Arena in Harrogate, Tenn. Times of each game will be announced later this week.

On March 6, the Peach Belt Conference announced the awards for the basketball season. AU senior Rafael Monteiro was voted to the first team all-PBC team and was presented the Elite 15 award. The Elite 15 award is given to the student-athlete with the highest overall cumulative GPA. In Monteiro’s two seasons with the team he’s made an all-conference team both years. His junior year he was named to the second team All-Conference. Monteiro is currently leading the team in scoring with 18.2 points per game and is second in rebounds with 8.4.

Sophomore Tyshaun Crawford, a transfer from Georgia Southern, also was recognized as he was named to the second team all-conference. In only his first season at AU, Crawford has made a big impact for the Jaguars, averaging 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He’s currently second in scoring on the team and first in rebounding.

On the women’s side, freshman standout Kennedi Manning was named third team all-conference. Manning averaged 10.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. She was second in scoring and first in rebounding for the team and helped the Jaguars to the PBC Tournament for the first time in several seasons.


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