Augusta State coach Dip Metress placed his hands on his head as Devonte Thomas pulled up for a quick 3-pointer in the final minute.
With the Jaguars clinging to a three-point lead, Metress would’ve preferred his sophomore guard run more time off the clock. But the ball squeezed through the net and Augusta State opened the season with a 91-86 win over Bowie State.
“I’m never mad at a win this time of year,” Metress said. “We’re not that good to be mad after a win right now.”
Harold Doby posted a career-high 25 points to lead the Jaguars on Tuesday night at Christenberry Fieldhouse. Augusta State blew a double-digit, second-half lead, fell down four, but it bounced back late for the victory.
“We need to work a little bit harder on defense,” Thomas said. “We’re a tough team, but we need to continue to get stops. It’s all about defense.”
Augusta State, a team that struggled on offense last season, got plenty of scoring, with the Jaguars shooting 70 percent from the field in the second half. Doby cleaned up around the basket, shooting 9 for 10 from the floor, while Thomas drilled six 3-pointers en route to 24 points.
Thomas scored 13 points the first three minutes of the second half to help Augusta State establish a 56-42 lead. But the Jaguars posted 19 turnovers, shot 13 for 23 from the foul line and committed countless defensive breakdowns to allow the Bulldogs to get back in the game.
Bowie State, picked to win its division in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, fell to 0-4, with all of its losses on the road by five or fewer points. Byron Westmorland led the Bulldogs with a game-high 37 points on seven 3-pointers.
“He was on fire,” Metress said. “We lost him a couple of times in transition. We knew Westmorland was going to shoot it, but I didn’t think he was going to shoot it like that.”
Bowie State shot 11 for 26 from three-point range and used its dribble penetration to storm back in the second half. The Jaguars led 85-82 when Thomas swished a three in front of the Augusta State bench with 32 seconds remaining to close out Bowie State.
“We were there plenty of times last year,” Doby said. “It just comes from playing with each other last year and digging down deep and playing hard.”
Augusta State center Chad July, who transferred in from Flagler in the off-season, played in foul trouble the entire game. In 22 minutes, July recorded a game-high 11 rebounds.