Story by Leeroy Francis
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Augusta University men's basketball team traveled to the Francis Marion Patriots Wednesday evening for a Peach Belt Conference game and started strong and eventually took the victory on the road 81-76 at Smith University Center in Florence, S.C.
Augusta (12-4, 8-2 PBC)
Francis Marion (12-3, 8-2 PBC)
The Jaguars were in command of the Patriots early on in the contest after taking the opening tip. After an opening three-pointer by freshman Tyree Myers the Jaguars quickly ran out to a 18-4 lead with 13:00 left in the first half. In a half where all five of the Jaguar starters scored early, AU maintained its double-digit lead throughout the first-half - leading by as much as 21 multiple times throughout the first half.
While the Jaguars maintained control of the Patriots throughout much of the first half, FMU would not settle for defeat at home and with only 1:10 left in the first half, the Patriots ended the first half on a 8-0 run by two late three-pointers from senior Je'Quan Perry and freshman Kailex Stephens to cut the once 21-point Jaguar lead to only 13.
In the second half, the Jaguars continued to maintain their first half lead, but the Patriots began to storm back into the game by attacking the paint and capitalizing on their free-throw opportunities. After another three-pointer by Patriots guard Kailex Stephens, the Jaguar lead was cut down to only six, 56-50, with 11:18 remaining in the game.
The Patriots would cut the Jaguar deficit to as little as four with 10:02 left in the game, but the Jaguars would not let the Patriots grab the lead and quickly began to take charge offensively - building their lead back up to 16 with the score 74-58 with 04:09 left in the game.
With 02:54 left in the contest, the Patriots began their final push to grab their first lead of the contest when Kailex Stephens hit a layup as FMU went on a 14-3 run to bring the game to only three with 16 seconds left.
After the Patriots three-pointer, the home team decided to foul Jaguar senior Tyvez Monroe and make the Jaguars earn their victory at the free-throw line. Monroe went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line and extended the Jaguar lead to four with 12 seconds left in the game.
On the ensuing possession the Patriots attempted to run down the court for a quick layup to cut the lead to two, but it rolled of the rim and was rebounded by Jaguar freshman Miguel Arnold. Arnold was immediately fouled sending him to the line with 01 seconds on the clock. Arnold went 1-for-2 to extend the lead to five and seal the victory for the Jaguars 81-76 in Florence.
The Jaguars were led by freshman Tyree Myers scoring 17 points (4-6 FG, 7-9 FT) adding eight rebounds and two assists in the contest. Freshman Miguel Arnold added 14 points, a rebound and an assist in the contest, while junior Rafael Montiero scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for a double-double in the contest. Senior Aaron Byrd played 15 minutes off the bench and scored 13 points, four rebounds and two steals on a perfect 4-4 shooting performance for the Jaguars.
The Patriots were led by freshman Kailex Stephens scoring 22 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and two steals in the game. Senior Brandon Parker added 21 points, seven rebounds and two steals for the Patriots.
Augusta travels to Georgia Southwestern this Saturday, Jan. 26 for a 5:30 p.m. away game in Americus, Ga. Augusta then comes back home to meet rival USC Aiken on Wednesday, Jan. 30 for a PBC showdown at in Augusta, Ga., at 5:30 p.m. in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
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