WILSON, N.C. – The Augusta University men's basketball team officially tipped off the 2017-18 season on Friday night in a neutral-site contest against Mount Olive and won 76-75. Augusta is competing at the 45-Second Classic, hosted by Barton College, in Wilson Gymnasium to start the season.
For the second straight year, Barton and fellow Conference Carolinas member University of Mount Olive are playing Peach Belt Conference members Augusta and Young Harris College for a two-day event.
Four Jaguars scored in double figures, with senior Tamyrik "TC" Fields leading the way with 19 points. Starting guard Aaron Byrd contributed 16 points, junior Deane Williams 15, and junior Tyvez Monroe added 12. Off the bench, Augusta sophomore Dereck Oliver carded six points and two rebounds and Mille Kolstad scored eight points with a pair of rebounds and assists.
The Jags shot 60.4 percent from the floor to UMO's 44.1 percent and went 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) from the free-throw line, while the Trojans were 10-for-11 (90.9 percent).
Augusta only hit five three pointers to Mount Olive's 13, but the Jags outscored them in the paint 36-18.
AU's Aaron Byrd buried the game-opening jumper and a Deane Williams dunk followed to start the offense. The Trojans took over and grabbed the lead through the first four minutes. There were seven tied scores in the first half as the game went into the break 38-all. Fields scored a game-high 12 points in the first half, Monroe put up seven, and Byrd and Williams six each.
In the second half, Augusta posted a 63.6 field-goal percentage, to UMO's 38.2 percent. With 43 seconds remaining in the game, Mount Olive went up 75-74 on a pair of free throws. The Jags took their time in getting a solid shot and Byrd nailed a jumper with 23 seconds left for a go-ahead bucket. The Jags went on to win 76-75, when the Trojans missed a last-effort trey.
Augusta plays the Barton Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Wilson Gymnasium.
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