Monday, January 30, 2017

Augusta Tops Rival Aiken to Grab First Place Spot in PBC East

Augusta Universtity 71, USC Aiken 69 (Men)

Star Grovetown guard Elizabeth Metress, who is also Augusta University's biggest fan, described nicely the way die hard Augusta fans feel about the Jaguars' rival, USC Aiken, when she talked in our pregame interview about how hard it was to cheer for her former teammate Kwajelin Farrar when the Lady Pacers handed the Lady Jaguars a 90-78 loss Monday:

"I'm still excited she's doing well. Even though it's for Aiken. I'm still excited for her..."

I know Elizabeth was excited to see Keshun Sherrill begin the night by making a pull up three on Augusta's first possession before the Jaguars played stingy defense and Sherrill tossed in several more jumpers to give Augusta a 35-22 lead early in the second half.

After the teams shook some first half nerves the scoring floodgates opened as Sherrill continued his hot shooting, netting a game high 23 points while sinking 8-14 field goals, including 3 of 5 from deep. Aiken's Henry Bolton III (18points ) and Jalin Barnes (16) threw shots in from everywhere throughout the second half, leading a furious 18-5 second half run that tied the game at 40.

After Sherrill buried a couple jumpers and Augusta gained back a 49-42 lead it was sophomore Jashawn Brooks's turn to give the Jags some breathing room. Brooks finished a drive in transition and followed that by making a pair of free throws and a baseline jumper. His six straight points gave Augusta a 59-51 lead. And Tyvez Monroe's three pointer moments later gave the Jaguars their biggest lead since early in the second half at 62-53.

Bolton III and Barnes came up with a couple more highly difficult three pointers, Bolton's to close the gap to 64-62 and Barnes's to make it 70-69. But Sherrill and Deane Williams (11 points) and Tamyrik Fields (11 points) each made free throws to cut off Aiken's attempts to complete their comeback.

Augusta improved to 16-4 overall and 9-3 in Peach Belt Conference play. USC Aiken fell to 13-6 and 7-5. The league leading Jaguars travel to Lander Wednesday before returning home for a matchup with UNC Pembroke Saturday at 2:30.

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