The last time Tye Beal faced Francis Marion, he played out of character.
One of Augusta State’s top foul shooters, Beal missed six of 10 free-throw attempts in a one-point road loss to the Patriots. On Saturday, the Jaguars senior guard made up for his previous effort in a big way.
Beal posted a season-high 21 points off the bench and Augusta State pulled out a 94-80 homecoming win over Francis Marion at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Beal swished all five of his 3-point attempts and also converted all six foul shots. He eclipsed his previous season-high of 18 two months earlier against the Patriots.
“I’m definitely glad I could come out and help us out,” Beal said. “That definitely hurt missing all those free throws like that.”
Augusta State (14-9, 10-5) remained in second place in the Peach Belt Conference East Division. The Jaguars, who trail USC Aiken, play host to the Pacers at 7:30 Wednesday night in the final home game of the season.
Against Francis Marion (14-10, 7-7), the Jaguars scored their most points since posting 101 against Life in November 2010. Augusta State, which led the final 37 minutes of the contest, recorded its best shooting performance of the season at 57 percent – the fourth time the Jaguars have shot better than 50 percent this season.
“It was nice to get a homecoming win,” Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. “It was a manageable game.”
The Jaguars posted a season-high 55 points in the first half, three points shy of their total in a Wednesday defeat at UNC Pembroke.
Metress hammered home the point of playing through contact in practice the previous two days, and the effort paid off.
Forward Harold Doby went inside and scored his most points in six games with 18. Center Travis Keels added 15 on 6 of 7 shooting, while forward Devon Wright-Nelson added 13.
“It’s been intense the past couple of days,” Doby said. “It’s been physical. We’ve been getting after it. We’ve been practicing hard. We’ve been learning how to play through contact.”
Augusta State also bombed away from the perimeter, especially in the first half. Beal swished all four of his 3-point attempts before intermission. Devonte Thomas drained four 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 17 points.
Augusta State led by 15 at halftime. The Patriots closed within five midway through the second half, but Doby made a layup and later added a free throw, giving the Jaguars a cushion.
Liki Turner posted 25 points and 10 rebounds to pace Francis Marion. Darryn Frazier added 24 points for the Patriots.