Harold Doby dished. Harold Doby defended. And yes, Harold Doby dunked, pulling his chin up over the rim on a first-half, throwdown.
In his Augusta State debut, Doby dominated in all-around fashion Wednesday night, leading the Jaguars to a 77-62 season-opening win over Paine in front of a crowd of 2,344 fans.
A former Laney High School standout who transferred back home from Georgia State this fall, Doby played his first game in three years in Augusta. The energetic sophomore forward led all scorers with 17 points on 7 for 14 shooting, with seven assists and six rebounds. On the defensive end, Doby took three charges in the first half and finished with five steals.
“It feels good to be home and get the support from my family in the crowd,” Doby said. “There’s a lot of stuff I’ve got to work on. I missed a lot of shots. I’d like to thank my teammates, because without them I would have done nothing.”
“I expect him to be that type of player,” Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. “The stat sheet was great, but all the other things he did and what he did defensively, he played a great game.”
Doby helped Augusta State attack the glass en route to a 51 percent shooting effort. The Jaguars outrebounded Paine, 35-26, and dished out 20 assists.
Augusta State, which now kicks off a six-game road trip, including Monday’s tilt against No. 13 Benedict, started freshmen guards Devonte Thomas (eight points) and D’Angelo Boyce (two points). Of the 10 players who saw action, Metress played six newcomers. He compared his youngsters to the Atlanta Braves’ standout rookies from this past season.
“We don’t have a bunch of Chipper Joneses,” said Metress, whose team has two seniors. “We’ve got a lot of guys who have never played at a top-level program like this. So it was nice to see the Freddie Freemans and Craig Kimbrels come through for us.”
Augusta State’s returners helped lead the way offensively. Guard O’Neal Armstrong scored 16 points, while center Travis Keels added 14 on 7 of 9 shooting. Guard Tye Beal added 12 points on four 3-pointers.
It wasn’t a perfect night for Augusta State. There was miscommunication on both sides of the ball, and they committed 16 turnovers.
“We just have to get acclimated to each other,” Keels said. “We’ve got so many new guys that we just have to jell with each other.”
Paine trimmed the lead to 37-31 with a James Devlin floater at the end of the first half. The Lions struggled to score from there, making only five baskets the first 11 minutes of the second half.
The Lions, with eight newcomers, shot 46 percent from the field. Devlin and Darius Smith each came off the bench to lead Paine with 16 points apiece, while Kedric Taylor added 13.
“Right now we’re like a chemistry project trying to make it jell,” Lions coach Jimmy Link said.
“That’s what we are – eight new players and the returners and it’s basically like having a whole new coach and they’re trying to do what I’m doing. So once we jell – we’re coming fast, we had spots and spurts where we’re doing really good.”