AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta State junior Ryan Weems came off the bench to again lead the Jaguars in scoring Wednesday night with a career-high 22 points as ASU outlasted Benedict 82-71 in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Two days after he dropped a then-career high 20 points on Coastal Georgia. Weems canned three 3-pointers and netted 14 points in the second half. Sophomore D'Angelo Boyce posted his second career double-double and a career-high in scoring with 19 points and 10 assists. Sophomore Devon Wright-Nelson garnered 18 points and team-best seven rebounds and Devonte Thomas managed 15 points, all in the second half.
The victory lifted the Jags to 3-0 on the young season, while the setback was the first for the Tigers (2-1).
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as the lead changed three times and the scored tied twice. There was 48 fouls called in the game between the two teams and ASU took advantage of the charity stripe, shooting 80 percent from the free throw line.
"We made some positive free throws, but we have to do a better job on ball screens," said ASU head coach Dip Metress said. "(Benedict) attacks you, but it helps us prepare for the Peach Belt Conference. We've got a lot to learn from this game. "The guys were in foul trouble, but I'm pleased to pull out a win. Now to prove ourselves, we have to win on the road."
Tied at 22-22 with 5:26 left in the first half, the score never saw a deficit above four points, as the teams entered the locker room with a 31-27 score. Boyce led ASU in the first half with nine points, hitting 4-of-6 from the field.
The Tigers struck first in the second half of a jumper from Xavier Collier, who had 15 points and six boards. Minutes later, after a series of fouls and missed jumpers, a Benedict put-back dunk gave the Tigers all the momentum – but not for long. Wright-Nelson drained a 3-pointer and Thomas suddenly found the range as he responded with back-to-back treys to keep the Jags on top. After being fouled, both Wright-Nelson and Thomas drained both of their free throws to keep ASU up 10.
The Jags, who shot 47.8 percent from the field and hit 17-of-20 free throws in the second half, hit the road for the first time this weekend. ASU takes on Virginia Union Sunday, Dec. 2 at Barco-Stevens Hall in Richmond, Va., in a 4:00 p.m. tipoff.