AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Augusta University men's basketball team (6-5, 2-2 PBC) defeated Peach Belt Conference opponent Francis Marion (7-5, 0-4 PBC) on Monday night 75-74 for their third straight victory.
The game came down to the wire, with FMU missing a full-court shot at the final buzzer that would have given them the win.
Augusta junior Keshun Sherrill, who was named the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week for last week's play, led the scoring for the Jags with 26. Freshman Aaron Byrd scored his career high with 15 and Tamyrik Fields and Tommy Williams each had nine points, with T. Williams snagging nine rebounds.
The Jaguars as a whole shot 49 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc. FMU was held to just 39.7 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from three-point range. The Jags forced 17 turnovers and had 11 of their own.
Sherrill started the game off strong for the Jags with a long two-pointer, starting a 6-0 run to begin the game. FMU would storm back, however, and take their first lead of the game at 10-8 off a fast break. The matchup saw an exchange of leads until a three-pointer by Keith Crump around the 8:00 mark to give the Jags some momentum, taking a 26-21 lead.
A series of fouls and turnovers swung the momentum right back in FMU's favor as they jumped out to a 30-26 lead. Back to back three's by the Patriots extended their lead to eight and the Jags trailed 38-33 at the half despite shooting 50 percent from both the field and beyond the arc in comparison to FMU's 48.5 percent from the field and just 27.3 percent from three-point range.
The Jags started the half strong with a three-point play by Fields, making his free throw following the foul and cutting the lead to two. Three straight layups by Michael Graham gave the Jaguars their first lead of the second half and a break-away jam by Fields extended the Jaguars lead to four and gave the team an evident boost to their morale. Augusta used a 14-6 run to pad their lead in the second half.
Coming off a 14-6 run for the Jaguars, seven straight free throws from the Patriots quickly saw the Jaguars' lead reduced to just two. Despite the push, Augusta was able to build its lead back to seven with 4:00 to go thanks to a strong defense and tremendous passing around the basket. The Patriots made one more charge, but that lead would prove to be the final lead change and enough of a buffer for the Jags to hold on and take home a 75-74 win.
The Jaguars host the Lander Bearcats on Saturday, Jan. 9 for a 3:30 p.m. tipoff. The Augusta women are scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start with Lander. The Jan. 9 contest is the Day of Service game where Augusta Athletics will recognize the Augusta University Day of Service participants from across the community.
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