GRU Augusta wins 77-66 over Pacers on the road to move to 20-5, 12-4
AIKEN, S.C. – The GRU Augusta Jaguars blew a 19-point first half lead on Saturday night, but withstood the comeback down the stretch to hold off rival USC Aiken for a 77-66 Peach Belt Conference victory in the Convocation Center.
After leading by 19 at one point in the first half, the Jaguars (20-5, 12-4 PBC) were only ahead 65-62 with 4:42 to go in the game. Hendrix Emu made a jumper for USC Aiken (11-14, 6-10 PBC) to make it a one-point game, but Keith Crump hit a timely three pointer from the left side to put GRU back up 68-64. After having zero points on 0-4 shooting for the game, senior deep-threat Devonte Thomas connected on a crucial three pointer for his first points of the game to make it 71-65 in the closing minutes. The Jags held on at the free-throw to win a 77-66 battle.
The first half belonged to the Jaguars in almost every statistical category possible. The Jags went into the half up 46-32, but they led by as much as 19 with 3:33 on the clock. GRU shot 50 percent from the floor and held USC Aiken to a 33.3 field-goal percentage, while outrebounding the Pacers 21-16 and scoring 24 points in the paint to the Pacers’ four.
Senior Devon Wright-Nelson and sophomore Keshun Sherrill each posted 15 points in the opening 20 minutes.
With 8:13 remaining the first half, Devon Wright-Nelson fought for three offensive rebounds in one possession. He took a foul on the third and went to the line to knock down to free throws for a 24-13 GRU lead. The Pacers hit two shots in the paint after a Keshun Sherrill three pointer to cut the GRU lead to 27-17, but the Jags stayed up for a 46-32 lead at the break.
Out of the whistle to start the second, USCA’S Dominic Early sunk a layup to cut their deficit to 12, but a Vlad Cobzaru jumper and Wright-Nelson three pointer put the Jags safely back ahead. Wright-Nelson ended the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Sherrill paced the team with 22 points.
Up by eight with 10:57 to go in Aiken, GRU’s D’Angelo Boyce was called for an intentional foul. The Pacers’ Rashad Lewis made his way to the free-throw line where he knocked down two for a 62-56 game – the closest the Pacers had been since the opening minutes.
Arbry Butler hit a free throw for USCA to bring them within five right before the third media timeout and Aiken picked the pocket of GRU point guard Sherrill to drive the lane for a fast-break dunk from Andre ‘Anthony to make it 64-61 with 6:10 to play. Anthony took a foul and hit one free throw in the next possession to make it a two-point game at 64-62, but Henry McCarthy drew a foul on a big defensive rebound – resulting in one made free throw. GRU outlasted the Pacers from there for the win.
The Jags shot 47.2 percent from the floor to USCA’s 38.2 percent. After owning the rebound advantage at the half 21-16, the Pacers dominated the glass in the second and won the final rebound battle 38-33.
The Jags close out the regular season when they host Francis Marion on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Lander on Feb. 21 at 12:00 p.m. and USC Aiken to close out the regular season on Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m.
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