After struggling in a loss at USC Aiken in January, Augusta State forward Harold Doby redeemed himself in a big way Wednesday night.
Doby scored a game-high 20 points as the Jaguars rallied late to upset the 23rd-ranked Pacers, 58-53, at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
“When I played them earlier, I kind of lost my head and I didn’t really play the second half. I take the blame for that,” said Doby, who added nine rebounds and two blocks. “I came out there with that on my chest.”
With the win in front of a crowd of 2,402, Augusta State (15-9, 11-5) pulled within a half game of USC Aiken (17-6, 11-4) for the Peach Belt Conference East Division lead. The Pacers have three games remaining, including a Saturday home game against Lander.
Augusta State extended its winning streak to 10 over USC Aiken at Christenberry Fieldhouse. The Jaguars also improved to 12-0 over against ranked teams at home in the Dip Metress era.
More importantly, Augusta State notched a huge regional victory. The Jaguars, who are off a week, entered the game at No. 5 in the Southeast Region. Augusta State closes the regular season with road games at Lander and Armstrong Atlantic State.
“We’ve got to explain some things about how to play on the road. We haven’t been very good on the road,” Metress said. “Hopefully, we’ll respond well.”
USC Aiken scored its fewest points this season. The Pacers, led by Rick Alderman’s 10 points, shot 40 percent from the field and committed 18 turnovers.
“It’s a big game. It’s a rivalry game. And in those games you have to be composed,” USC Aiken coach Vince Alexander said. “You have to play with some patience. I just thought we didn’t do that. We didn’t do a good job of that.”
Augusta State got off to a fast start and led 29-19 at halftime. USC Aiken chipped away at the lead and went up three after Alderman converted a three-point play. Then, Doby turned it over. Re’mon Nelson responded with a 17-foot jumper. Sterling Council then made a layup off a Tye Beal turnover. The Pacers led 46-39.
Augusta State bounced back with a Beal 3-pointer. Doby followed with two free throws. Doby then added a one-handed lay-in, tying the game at 46-all.
With 1:40 left, Devon Wright-Nelson, who played the final five minutes with four fouls, swished the go-ahead 12-foot jumper with 1:40 left. Wright-Nelson later added two foul shots. Augusta State led 56-53.
USC Aiken went scoreless the final two minutes. Doby blocked a Council 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to preserve the victory.
“I don’t know what it was, but everyone just picked it up,” Beal said. “Harold did big things for us. Everybody did big things. I’m definitely proud of all of them.”