AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta State sophomore Devon Wright-Nelson scored a season-high 21 points to lead the Jaguars to a 75-73 Peach Belt Conference victory over Montevallo Monday night in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
With the victory, the 15th-ranked Jags climbed to 6-0 on the season and 2-0 in the PBC. Montevallo dropped to 5-4 and 1-1 in the conference.
Wright-Nelson notched a double-double, scoring 21 and pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds. Junior forward Harold Doby booked 15 points, while sophomore D'Angelo Boyce scored 14 points, including 11-of-17 from the charity stripe, and a game-high five assists. Junior Ryan Weems contributed 11 points and two blocks.
Falcons' senior forward Drico Hightower, originally from Augusta, led all scorers with 23 and pulled down 12 rebounds. Senior Marvin Fitzgerald booked 15 points, while guards Troran Brown and Ryan May contributed 11 and 10 points respectively for Montevallo.
Both teams started the game cold before the Falcons' Brown canned a 3-pointer almost three minutes into the half. The Jaguars fell behind by seven early, but battled back to take the lead at the 6:06 mark, when Devon Wright-Nelson grabbed Doby's missed second foul shot and canned a jumper. ASU twice built three point leads over the Falcons before junior guard Ryan Weems ended the first half by draining a 3-point bucket to give the Jaguars a 36-32 advantage.
"We did not play well in the first half," said coach Dip Metress. "We showed not passion or poise and made bad shots."
The second half featured three technical fouls on Montevallo and three Jaguars fouling out of the game. The Jaguars maintained a seven point advantage for most of the second half, leading by as much as 10. The Falcons climbed back within four, on two foul shots by Hightower with 1:23 remaining. In the last minute, Boyce canned three of four from the line, while Ryan Weems hit on two from the charity stripe with eight seconds remaining to preserve the win.
"Both teams are physical teams, but neither adjusted very well in the game. The ball did not go in for us and we got in foul trouble. Foul trouble forced us to hold Chad, Doby, and Keels out of the game and rely a little more on others. It was a good win, a team win, for us," commented Metress.
ASU shot 43 percent from the field, while Montevallo hit on 41 percent. The Jaguars canned 29-of-39 (74 percent) from the charity stripe compared to 18-of-26 (69 percent) for the Falcons. There were 51 fouls called in the game. Augusta State had a season-low in turnovers with seven for the game, while forcing 11.
The Jags are right back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 19 when they host No. 20 Lincoln Memorial at James Brown Arena in downtown Augusta. Tip off in the "Jam the JBA" game is set for 6:00 p.m.