Augusta's halftime lead doesn't last in season-opening division-I battle
CLEMSON, S.C. – The Augusta University men's basketball team got its first taste of on-court action on Thursday night in an exhibition game against the Clemson Tigers at Littlejohn Coliseum. The Augusta Jaguars led by 11 in the first half and were up at halftime, but the Tigers took over to win 80-56.
Augusta head men's basketball coach Dip Metress starts year 14 with the Jaguars with back-to-back Division I matchups. In addition to the contest at Clemson, Augusta hosts the 'Storm the 'Berry' exhibition game against Georgia Southern on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Christenberry Fieldhouse to raise money and support for hurricane relief.
With a hefty section of Jaguar faithful's in attendance behind the Augusta bench, the game saw the Jags race to an early lead and that carried into halftime. The Division-I talent of the Tigers took over in the second half of the exhibition game and brought them the win on their home floor.
"It was nothing we hadn't seen before," Augusta junior Deane Williams said. "You know last year we obviously played at Wichita State. This year as well, we have to expect big crowds like that and expect to play under big pressure. We held our own in the first half and then they kind of showed us what division I basketball is about in the second. We have some things to figure out, but once we do I think we'll be a very dangerous team."
Augusta was led by juniors Deane Williams and Tyvez Monroe who each had 11 points. D. Williams added nine rebounds, two blocks, and was 3-for-3 from the free-throw line. Senior Tamyrik Fields scored 10 points with six rebounds, senior Kyle Doyle nine points and seven boards, and freshman Mikkel Kolstad six points.
AU had a 30.2 shooting percentage, after shooting 40.7 in the first half. The team was 15-for-19 from the free-throw line (78.9%) and committed 12 turnovers. Clemson shot 45.9 from the floor and 75 percent at the free-throw line. The Tigers' Donte Gratham led all scorers with 18 points, while five Clemson players scored in double figures.
Metress' men scored the first bucket of the game on a Deane Williams layup. Each team knocked down shots in the opening five minutes for a 9-all game at the first media timeout.
Augusta outscored the Tigers 10-0 in the first eight minutes and led by as much as 11 points at 24-13.
Clemson was resilient in the closing minutes of the first half and cut their deficit to 33-31 at halftime. Eight Jaguars recorded buckets in the first half, with junior D. Williams and Fields each leading with six points and five rebounds. Augusta outscored Clemson in the paint 20-6 in the first half.
Augusta couldn't match Clemson's pace to open the second half and trailed by 10 with 13:49 remaining. Down 59-45, AU got a jumper from Fields to cut it within 12, but the Tigers tacked on three baskets in a row and held off the Jags for an eventual 80-56 win.
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