DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Augusta University men's basketball team started Peach Belt Conference play with a 102-93 loss at North Georgia on Friday night in Memorial Hall.
The Augusta Jags (7-2, 0-1 PBC) entered the game on a four game win streak and despite a late-offensive surge in the first half that sparked a comeback, North Georgia (5-5, 1-0 PBC) survived in the closing minutes of the game.
Augusta senior Keshun Sherrill had 17 points in the first half and ended with 42 total - one point shy of his career high (43 points, 12.15.15 vs. Coastal Georgia). Junior Kyle Doyle posted 11 early points and ended with 15 points and four rebounds. Sophomore shooter Tyvez Monroe contributed 10 points and five boards in the loss.
The Nighthawks nudged the Jags off the glass 39-37 in the rebound battle and shot an impressive 57.6 field-goal percentage to Augusta's 47.1 percent. In the paint, North Georgia outscored the Jags 36-20, but Augusta capitalized for 21 points off turnovers to UNG's seven.
Sherrill hit a layup to start the game, but the Nighthawks took the lead and stayed ahead without scare. UNG led by 11 at one point in the first half. UNG was up 36-26 on a Roderick English free throw at the 7:00 minute mark, but Tyvez Monroe made a layup and a free throw after a foul for a 36-29 score
The Jags went on a 10-0 run down to two minutes in the first half and senior Vlad Cobzaru cashed in a layup off an assist from Sherrill to take a 45-43 lead – the first advantage for Augusta since the first basket of the game. A pair of free throws from Aaron Byrd built the lead to 47-44 for Augusta as they took halftime on top.
Shaquan Cantrell opened the second with a jumper for his 18th point of the game. Sherrill answered with his fourth three pointer to keep his team ahead, but the Nighthawks knocked off their lead and tied the game 55-all on another Cantrell basket. Cantrell ended with 25 points to lead his team.
Tyler Dominy went off in the 13th and 12th minute of the second half and had his team up 68-59 with 12:13 to play. At the first media timeout in the second, Augusta trailed by seven points. The score was 87-82, when Sherrill sunk two at the charity stripe for his 37th point with 4:00 on the clock. Trailing 87-85 was the closest Augusta would get as North Georgia held them off for a 102-93 win. A late trey and slew of free throws willed the Nighthawks to the league victory. Ebo Smith scored 19 points, English 16, and Dominy 15.
Augusta continues road play in the Peach Belt with a trip to Columbus Ga., on Monday Dec. 19. The Jaguars face the Columbus State Cougars at 7:30 p.m. in the Lumpkin Center.
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