COLUMBUS, Ga. — Augusta State guard O’Neal Armstrong was not ready for his career to be over.
Talking to teammate Tye Beal earlier Friday, the senior said, “You do know that if we lose, we won’t have any more games for our lives.”
Armstrong had 11 points, six assists and two steals to lead the Jaguars to a 71-49 rout of Georgia College in the quarterfinals of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
Both teams knew coming in that the winner would be almost assured of receiving a NCAA Division II bid, while the loser would likely miss out. Coming into the game, Georgia College (17-10) was sixth and Augusta State (17-10) seventh in the Southeast Regional rankings. The top eight will receive berths in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia College coach Terry Sellers was not ready to declare his season over.
“I don’t know if one loss should necessarily knock out us out,” he said.
The Jaguars took control of the game over the final 11:26 of the first half. Augusta State closed out the half on a 25-10 run to lead 38-19 at intermission.
The run continued into the second half as the Jaguars built a 29-point lead, 52-23, with 14:50 left in the game.
Georgia College managed to get within 15, 59-44, with 4:48 remaining, but that was as close as the Bobcats got.
The 49 points scored was a season low in points for Georgia College. It was also the fewest points allowed by the Jaguars.
“It was all because of our defense,” Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. “We had three or four run outs, layups that really helped us. We were in major foul trouble in the first half. We had some lineups out there we wouldn’t run out there in practice.
“But we playing really hard, not really well, but we were playing really hard. We were playing so hard, it made up for some of the mistakes that we made.”
Augusta State was playing without starting guard Devonte Thomas, who was averaging 12.7 points per game. The freshman, who will miss the tournament, suffered a broken jaw last Saturday when he was fouled by Armstrong Atlantic’s Stephen Davis. Davis was called for a flagrant 2 technical foul and was ejected. Armstrong Atlantic kicked Davis off its team on Friday.
Devon Nelson-Wright, who was named to the All-PBC first team and Freshman of the Year, led the Jaguars with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Harold Doby added 15.
Ryan Aquino led the Bobcats with 14 points.