AUGUSTA, GA — Led by 31 points from Tournament MVP Tyshaun Crawford, the Augusta University Jaguars defeated Lander University 86-72 in the championship game of the Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball tournament on Sunday. The Jaguars win the title for a second year in a row and third time in the last five years. They become the fifth PBC team to repeat as tournament champions, the first since 2018. With the win, the Jaguars (26-5) earn the PBC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Lander (22-9) were playing in their first championship game since winning the event in 2016 and are very strong candidates for an at-large berth to the NCAAs.

Lander began the game on a tear, opening up the game with a 22-4 run driven by the perimeter shooting of Jaylon Pugh. Pugh hit six three-pointers in the first five minutes of the game, including four in a row before Augusta put a point on the board.

But Augusta came back with a 14-2 run of their own, seven of those coming from Crawford including a three-point play with 7:48 to play in the first that cut the lead to 24-1

Lander led 28-21 when the Jaguars connected on three straight three-pointers, two of them from Miguel Arnold, that gave AU their first lead at 30-28 with 3:36 in the half. Lander tied the game at 36 on a three from Nigel Colven, but two Crawford free throws gave AU a 38-36 halftime lead.

Crawford kept the pressure up to begin the second half with back-to-back layups and scored the first six points of the half for Augusta. Lander cut the lead to three at 46-43 following a three-pointer from Jared Sherfield, but those would be the last points for LU for the next three minutes as Augusta scored 12 straight to open a double-digit lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

Crawford finished with 11 of 19 shots from the field for his 31 points to go with a game-high nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Miguel Arnold added 16 points with Tyree Myers scoring 11 with seven rebounds. Augusta shot 43% from the field in the game and held a 36-28 rebounding edge.

Pugh finished the game with 21 points, all on three-pointers. Tommy Moore scored 12 while Sherfield added 11 and seven rebounds.