The last time Augusta State was at Columbus State, coach Dip Metress changed his team’s style of play.
The Jaguars return to the same arena with their slow-down offense, something that helped the team qualify for the Peach Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals. Augusta State plays Montevallo at 7 p.m. today, while conference champion USC Aiken faces Clayton State at 1 p.m.
“We reevaluated our goals four weeks ago, we completely changed our style of play two weeks ago,” Metress said. “In those two weeks, I couldn’t be more pleased with our guys in the sense of them buying in to playing a sometimes aethestically bad-looking way of playing. But they want to win.”
It’s no secret what Augusta State (14-12) will do tonight against the Falcons. One month after defeating Montevallo, 75-73, in a fast-paced game in December, the Jaguars lost forward Harold Doby because of an indefinite suspension following a gun charge. Then, Metress kicked center Chad July and backup guard Josh Samuels off the team. Augusta State now has nine players on the roster, but seven will play most, if not all, of the minutes.
The Jaguars will eat as much clock as possible against the Falcons (18-8). Since switching to the slow-down attack, the Jaguars have shot 51 percent from the field on 37 shots a contest the past five games. Ryan Weems leads the team with a 15.5 scoring average.
“I think everybody is getting used to it,” point guard D’Angelo Boyce said about the offense. “The big men are resting on offense more so they can play harder on defense. We just need to take better shots.”
With Augusta State in the tournament as the East No. 4 seed, Metress said his team will reevaluate its goals. Just being in the tournament is not good enough, he said. If the Jaguars can defeat Montevallo, they’d play UNC Pembroke or Georgia Southwestern in the semifinals.
“We just want to make some noise,” senior center Travis Keels said. “I think we can make the championship. We just have play smart, play together. Anything can happen.”