Sunday, November 13, 2016

Saturday's Standouts - College Hoops Edition

Laney graduate Christian Keeling scored 16 points on 7 of 12 shooting
against Florida State in his first college game Saturday. Photo cred

Charleston Southern freshman Christian Keeling scored 16 points, leading the Buccaneers in scoring in a season opening loss at Florida State. Keeling's former Laney teammate Jashawn Brooks, an Augusta University sophomore, teamed with Aquinas graduate Tamyrik Fields to spark a Jaguar win at Barton College. Former Richmond Academy Musketeer Christian Nobles led USC Aiken to a season opening win. And Allen University senior Dekoya Mack lit it up from deep to lead the Yellow Jackets to a road win at Coastal Georgia.

Keeling started fast in his new setting

Christian Keeling made the game's first basket, a 17 foot jumper off the dribble, and he helped his Buccaneers close an 11 point deficit by scoring two baskets in the final two minutes of the first half, allowing Charleston Southern to pull to within 6 points of Florida State at the break.

In 28 minutes of action, the former Laney Wildcat made 7 of 12 field goals, he grabbed 4 rebounds, and he reached the free throw line 6 times in his college debut. He was as active on both sides of the court against the Seminoles as we got used to seeing him be on Augusta's high school courts. Before the first 20 minutes passed, Christian had already dived head first, beating a Seminole to the ground, to grab a loose ball; and he took a charge and blocked a shot during the 2 minute stretch when he scored the two buckets that got Charleston Southern as close (38-32 at halftime)  as they would get to Florida State the rest of the game.

Fields and Brooks make timely buckets to help Augusta complete the weekend sweep

A ten minute second half stretch without Keshun Sherrill during a close road game would have once spelled doom for Augusta University. But when the preseason first team All Peach Belt selection checked out of Saturday's game at Barton College with four fouls and 13:39 remaining in the first half, veterans Jashawn Brooks (Laney, class of 2015) and Tamyrik Fields (Aquinas, class of 2014) were ready. 

With the Jags leading 46-45, the duo scored 15 of their combined 26 total points while Sherrill sat. And when Sherrill returned with 4:21 remaining, Fields made a free throw to finish a 24-16 run that gave the Jags a 70-61 cushion. During the pivotal stretch of time, Brooks buried 2 threes and converted a three point play after stealing the ball. And Fields grabbed two offensive rebounds and reached the foul line 6 times.

Sherrill finished the game with 24 points, including a dagger three with 2:15 remaining that gave Augusta a 77-67 lead. Fields's 14 points and Brooks's 12 (3 threes) were more important than the stat sheet shows because of the timing. These are players, along with sophomores Tyvez Monroe, Aaron Byrd, and Deane Williams, who gained valuable experience last season. And that learning has played a big part in the Jaguars' 2-0 start. Before the team's exhibition game at Wichita State last Saturday, I asked Fields and Brooks what impact last season's experiences have had on them in preparing for this year's run.

The Jags return home for Thursday's matchup against Claflin at Christenberry Fieldhouse.

Christian Nobles - USC Aiken

Nobles leads Pacers and Mack lights it up

Paine transfer Christian Nobles scored 21 points and dished out 6 assists in USC Aiken's 91-69 home win over St. Andrews. Nobles, a senior, graduated from Richmond Academy, where he twice led the Musketeers to the semifinal round of the state tournament while playing for his father Steve Nobles.

Lastly, a report from Allen University about former Laney Lady Wildcat Dekoya Mack scoring 30 points on 10 made threes spread through Facebook Sunday. The senior led Allen past Coastal Georgia (80-68) with her three point marksmanship.

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