AUGUSTA, Ga. – Despite a game-leading 21 point effort by Ryan Weems on Saturday night, the Augusta State Jaguars dropped a home game to UNC Pembroke, 65-61, on Jan. 26, in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
The loss dropped ASU to 10-6 overall and 5-4 in the Peach Belt Conference, while UNCP improved to 13-7 and 6-4 in the conference.
"You cannot win a game in the first five minutes, but you can lose one in the first five minutes," head coach Dip Metress said. "We stayed close in the second half, but we were playing from behind for the first five minutes. When you lose the bounce in your step, you don't do what you are used to doing."
In addition to his 21 points, including a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe, Weems contributed three assists, two steals, and six rebounds. Devon Wright-Nelson notched 16 points, while senior Travis Keels had three blocks and seven points.
The Braves jumped out to a 14-2 advantage, but the Jags fought back. Two 3-pointers by Devonte Thomas brought it to 17-22. UNCP's senior guard Shahmel Brackett responded with a basket from behind the arc to retake the lead and end the half up 30-32.
The Braves were led by senior forward George Blakeney's double-double of 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Ben Jacobs was 7-9 from the field for 14 points.
The Jags kept the game within five points, claiming a 41-41 tie, when Weems intercepted a UNCP pass and took it to the basket.
The Braves responded by building an 11-point lead as ASU failed to score a basket from the field in over six minutes of play. A late-minute comeback fell short once ASU did not hit another shot until Devon Wright-Nelson's layup that only pulled the Jags within four at the game's buzzer, resulting in the 61-65 loss.
"This is the fifth game we have played in nine days and the third in a week. We just didn't have the juice," said Metress.
ASU shot 39 percent from the field, while UNCP shot 43 percent. The Jags were outrebounded 38-31 in the contest and committed 10 turnovers to 12 for the Braves. ASU was outscored off the bench 30-10.
The Jags continue the last stretch of conference play on Thursday, Jan. 31 when Armstrong Atlantic State hosts the Jags in a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.