Jags make some noise during win

The Blue Crew came out 1,800 strong to Christenberry Fieldhouse. And Augusta State's rabid fans didn't leave disappointed.

In the arena's first top-25 matchup Wednesday night, Tyrekus Bowman scored 27 and the 16th-ranked Jaguars knocked off No. 10 Clayton State, 76-67.

In front of its largest- and loudest - crowd of the season, Augusta State (19-3, 11-0) won its 11th game in a row. The Jaguars also remained undefeated at home this season.

More importantly, Augusta State took firm control of the Peach Belt Conference. The Jaguars now lead the league, and the South Division, by three games over the Lakers (19-3, 8-3) with five contests remaining. One of those games includes a Feb. 21 tilt at Clayton State.

But the team, and its fans, was too busy celebrating the latest victory to worry about the future.

"We've just been waiting on this game," Augusta State guard Kip Small said. "It feels good to get that win. Especially against Clayton."

Earlier in the day, Augusta State learned it had leapfrogged Clayton State and Virginia Union and had emerged as the top team in the latest South Atlantic Region poll. The Jaguars solidified their spot atop the region now with wins over No. 2 Clayton State, No. 4 Lenoir-Rhyne and No. 5 Armstrong Atlantic State.

The No. 1 region team at the end of the season will play host to the first three rounds of the Division II Tournament.

"It's a great regional win," Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. "It's a great national win. It's a great conference win. It's a great win."

Augusta State clinched the game when Bowman chased down a loose ball and banked it in with 30 seconds remaining to give the Jaguars a seven-point advantage.

Through they played the top scoring defense in the Peach Belt, Augusta State shot 56 percent from the floor and fell just four points shy of its scoring average.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.