Before the game got testy and players lost their cool, George Johnson already posted his best performance in an Augusta State uniform.
The senior guard scored 20 points in 21 minutes Wednesday night and the Jaguars breezed to a 101-66 win over Life at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Johnson, a transfer from Gannon, shot 9 for 10 from the field, with two 3-pointers. He added five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
"He just got hot," said junior guard Tye Beal, Johnson's former high school teammate. "It was only a matter of time."
With 17:17 remaining and Augusta State up 63-31, Johnson's game suddenly came to an end. As Johnson drove to the basket, Life's Ramon Walker took him down to the floor in a headlock. After the intentional foul, Johnson and Walker exchanged heated words. Walker tossed a punch, before Johnson retaliated with a shot that landed short of Walker's face. Both players were ejected after referees called them each for a flagrant foul.
Because he wasn't ejected for fighting, Johnson will not miss the Jaguars' Dec. 2 game at Paine. Johnson was unavailable for comment after the contest.
Augusta State, No. 20 in Division II, improved to 4-0 after a heated game that featured four technical fouls. Lost in the commotion, the Jaguars shot 65 percent from the field on 27 assists.
Ben Purser scored a career-high 19 points for Augusta State, while Caleb Brown added 16, Franck Ndongo 15 and Beal 11.
Johnson opened the season with a 20-point effort against Anderson, then struggled to find the basket the next two games, shooting a combined 3 for 21. He entered the game shooting a team-worst 31 percent from the field.
Johnson got off to a slow start, missing an early 3-pointer. Midway through the half, he picked up a steal and drove in for a fastbreak lay-in. From there, the game slowed down for him.
With Augusta State up eight, Purser found Johnson cutting to the basket for a layup. Johnson then knocked down a 10-foot shot in the lane. After Life's Tony Reese swished two free throws, Johnson flew down court for a layup. Two minutes later, Johnson dropped in an 18-foot rainbow from the top of key.
With Johnson's effort, the Jaguars shot a season-best 72 percent from the field in the first half and took a 53-27 lead at the break.