The Augusta University men’s basketball team played rival and No. 5 nationally-ranked USC Aiken on Wednesday night in a Peach Belt Conference showdown and won 94-75 for the teams ninth consecutive victory.
Augusta freshman Miguel Arnold had 19 first half points and finished with a season-high 27. Arnold hit five or more three pointers for the fifth time this season as he went 7-for-9 from the three-point line. Jags junior Rafael Monteiro posted 20 points and four rebounds in the win, while freshman Tyree Myers totaled 17 points, seven assists, five steals, four rebounds, and a block. Senior Deane Williams gave Augusta 13 points, five boards, and two assists, while sophomore Troy Cracknell hit four three pointers off the bench.
Augusta scored 90 or more points for the eighth time this season. While each team matched 32 rebounds, the Jaguars’ 14 three pointers to USCA’s five made the difference in the game. Ranked second in the NCAA Southeast Region and leading the Jaguars by one game in the PBC standings to enter the game, USC Aiken snapped a five game win streak with the loss.
The Jaguars held a 25-19 lead heading into a media timeout with 7:30 on the clock in the first half. Augusta found an edge from Cracknell, who came off the bench early and drained a pair of field goals and three pointers.
Monroe rattled in a corner three pointer to lift Augusta up 35-26 at the 4:11 mark and USCA called a timeout. Arnold kept it going with back-to-back three pointers in two possessions. With the halftime clock expiring, Myers banked in a buzzer-beater three pointer for Augusta on a fast break and sprinted to the locker room after his shot landed to keep his team on top 51-38.
Augusta held a 20-point advantage with 6:00 minutes left in the game and cruised the rest of the way – dribbling the ball out as the clock expired in front of a roaring crowd of faithful Jaguar fans.
AU plays its final regular-season game of the season on Saturday, March 2 at Lander in Greenwood, S.C. The game tips off at 3:30 p.m. The Peach Belt Conference Tournament begins on Wednesday, March 6 when the top four teams host the first round quarterfinal games. The highest remaining seed on the men’s side after the PBC quarterfinals hosts the PBC semifinals and finals March 9-10.
COURTESY AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY SID