AUGUSTA, Ga. -- For the first time in 17 years, the 12th-ranked Augusta State Jaguars brought back basketball to James Brown Arena, enduring a 67-53 loss against 20th-ranked Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday night.
The contest was the first played at the downtown venue in 17 years, dating back to ASU's 80-64 victory over Paine on Dec. 16, 1995.
The loss knocked the 12th-ranked Jags (6-1) from the ranks of the undefeated, while LMU improved to 8-1 on the season. ASU is now 0-2 all-time against LMU and 23-11 against nationally-ranked opponents under Dip Metress.
Lincoln owned the first half in almost every aspect. After winning the opening tipoff, the Railsplitters outscored the Jags 34-22 and shot 44 percent to ASU's 28 percent. They hit three more treys than the Jags and committed three less turnovers.
The Jags were 6-of-19, shooting barely over 30 percent after 10 minutes of play in the first. Freshman Tim Pierce stretched the Railsplitter lead by 10 with a 3-pointer from the left side. ASU had its lowest scoring half of the season by 14 points.
"We win and lose as a team and we have to learn from the loss," head coach Dip Metress said. "They came out with great energy and hopefully we can figure out what to do and learn a lesson without getting burned."
The Jags came out hot from the break, with Devon Wright-Nelson earning the first ASU points of the new half with a jumper and Harold Doby following with a layup. Wright-Nelson drained a 3-pointer from the left side three minutes later to bring it within eight. Wright-Nelson posted his second double-double in two consecutive games with 10 points and 12 boards.
Senior Jake Troyli led LMU with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Dustin Craig and Vincent Bailey combined for 14, adding seven each.
Freshman Josh Samuels led the Jags with a career-high 11 points in 13 minutes, with Doby matching his 11 points and adding eight boards. ASU lost the rebound contest 67-53 and shot 26 percent in the game to LMU's 44 percent.
"I was very pleased with (Samuels), he came out and competed," Metress said. But, tonight was a different atmosphere and a learning experience we need to address. Through miss communication and loose balls they beat us. We have to learn to handle the negative."
The Jags return from their holiday break on Sunday, Dec. 30 when they travel to Mount Olive for a 4:00 p.m., non-conference matchup with the Trojans.