Devon Wright-Nelson and his Augusta State teammates practiced five miles from home on a new court, one that’s sure to impress tonight.
Because of graduation this week at Christenberry Fieldhouse, the 12th-ranked Jaguars moved their home game with No. 20 Lincoln Memorial to 6 p.m. today at James Brown Arena.
In July, the Augusta Coliseum Authority approved the purchase of the court – and goals – from the NCAA Division I Tournament played in March. On Tuesday, the teams practiced inside an arena that resembled the Division II Elite Eight setup when Augusta State played 2008-10 in Springfield, Mass.
“It’s nice,” Wright-Nelson said. “It makes you feel like you’re important.”
Augusta State is playing its first game at James Brown Arena
in 17 seasons, and its first top-20 matchup since Jan. 27, 2011.
Last season, Lincoln Memorial handed Augusta State a 73-57 defeat in Harrogate, Tenn., en route to a 26-6 campaign that included a trip to the second round of the Division II Tournament. This year, the Railsplitters are 7-1 and picked up a key region win over King on Sunday after losing a week earlier to Virginia-Wise.
“Last year was arguably the worst loss we’ve received in a long time,” said Augusta State coach Dip Metress, who is 23-10 in top-25 matchups in nine seasons with the Jaguars. “They’re a great club. They’re very well-balanced. They’re one of the best teams in this part of the country.”
Lincoln Memorial is led by 6-foot-10 forward Jake Troyli, who is averaging 15.0 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, and guard Wally Jones (14.1 points, 4.1 boards). The Railsplitters are
shooting 50 percent from the field, scoring 84.8 points a game.
Augusta State is 6-0 and has five players averaging double digits in scoring. Devonte Thomas leads with a 14.8 average. He is followed by Ryan Weems (14.5), Wright-Nelson (13.3), Harold Doby (13.2) and D’Angelo Boyce (10.2).