Devon Wright-Nelson missed a pull-up jumper in the first minute of Saturday’s game and started feeling bad for himself.
His teammates told him to keep shooting. Then he made one shot. Then another. And another.
Wright-Nelson finished with a career-high 28 points to lead Augusta State to an 82-50 rout of Flagler at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Wright-Nelson added another career high with 17 rebounds to help lead the Jaguars to their fifth win in the past six games in front of a crowd of 1,904 on Military Appreciation Day. After missing his first attempt, the Augusta State freshman forward connected on his next nine shots and finished 11 of 13 from the field.
“My teammates just told me to keep my head up,” Wright-Nelson said. “I don’t know. It was just a crazy night.”
Augusta State scored its most points since posting 92 against Flagler in December. The Jaguars (13-8, 9-4) remained in second place in the Peach Belt East Division just behind leader USC Aiken.
“We’re very pleased to get a win and keep ourselves in the mix,” Augusta State coach Dip Metress said.
Wright-Nelson scored the most points of any Augusta State player since George Johnson recorded 31 against Mount Olive in December 2010. Augusta State got off to a fast start and led 12-2 when Wright-Nelson knocked down his first jumper. Then, he hit another. Then, he swished a 3-pointer.
After making a layup with 12:58 to go in the first half, Wright-Nelson stole the inbounds pass, made another layup and added a free throw to push the Jaguars lead to 26-4.
“He was knocking down shots all over the place,” said Augusta State center Travis Keels, who added 12 points. “It was exciting to watch him play.”
Later in the half, Harold Doby dished a pass to Wright-Nelson, who bolted down the middle of the lane for a highlight-reel dunk. By halftime, he had 21 points, with more field goals (nine) than the entire Flagler team (eight). Augusta State led 47-19 at intermission.
“He was good tonight,” Metress said. “I couldn’t take him out, he was playing so well.”
Coming off a loss the previous Saturday at Montevallo, Metress wanted his players – especially point guard D’Angelo Boyce – to be more active with the ball. Boyce helped set the tone with dribble penetration as the Jaguars finished with 19 assists.
“(Metress) just told us we need to be more aggressive when we get the ball on the perimeter,” Boyce said. “We need to look for our shots more than just passing it.”
Flagler (7-12, 1-11) shot just 28 percent from the field to fall to 7-12 overall, 1-11 in Peach Belt play. Jarrod Branco scored 13 points to lead the Saints.