Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jags drop opener at Claflin


Correction: Adolph Caldwell scored the go-ahead basket for Claflin Wednesday.                    
I mistakenly tabbed Patrell Rogers in the video above.                 


Good teams aren't assembled. They grow by failing, by confronting adversity. Augusta University, which included ten freshmen and sophomores on its roster for Wednesday's opener at Claflin, had its first meeting with adversity when the Panthers handed the Jaguars a 66-62 loss behind a fast start and a bruising inside attack.

The Jaguars fell behind 26-17 after Claflin ran past and jumped over Augusta, throwing down three dunks in the game's first ten minutes. Back-to-back jumpers by Junior Keshun Sherrill narrowed the deficit to 5 at 28-23, but that is as close as the Jags would get before the Panthers took a 35-27 lead into halftime.

The second half provided the first signs that this relatively inexperienced group was up to the task ahead. Senior transfer Tommy Williams bullied his way to 11 second half points in the paint, making all five of his attempts. And freshmen Tyvez Monroe, Deane Williams, and Aaron Byrd all contributed by grabbing offensive rebounds, knocking down free throws, and making timely baskets.


Junior Keshun Sherrill shouts to freshman Deane Williams during a
defensivesequence in Wednesday's opener at Claflin.

It was Sherrill who on two occasions cut Claflin's lead to 1 in the second half. Augusta's leader provided most of the key baskets down the stretch and led all scorers with 18 points.

After a Williams dunk and two free throws by Byrd, the game was tied at 60 with 41 seconds remaining. But Adolph Caldwell made the go ahead basket and Augusta's response was cut short by a questionable illegal screen foul called when the Jags tried to free up Sherrill on the final Augusta possession.

Claflin's Patrell Rogers led the Panthers with 16 points. Caldwell added 15. Tommy Williams chipped in 16 points to add to Sherrill's 18 in the loss.

Augusta now turns its attention to Saturday's home game against another SIAC opponent, city rival Paine College. Area fans will be well served not to miss this meeting between our town's two best basketball teams.

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