COLUMBIA — O’Neal Armstrong said he and his Augusta State teammates will forget about Monday night’s loss when practice begins today.
“You win some, you lose some,” the Jaguar senior guard said. We’ll be back in the gym working hard tomorrow.”
Augusta State couldn’t overcome a poor-shooting effort Monday night, falling in overtime at No. 13 Benedict, 62-61.
The Jaguars (1-1) opened their six-game road stretch on the wrong foot. Augusta State overcame a four-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation only to blow an opportunity to win in overtime. With the Jaguars holding a two-point lead, Tye Beal’s 23-foot jumper rimmed out with 16 seconds left. Roman Hill and Harold Doby each missed the putback, and Benedict’s Rickie Jackson was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Jackson drained all three shots with nine seconds remaining to lift Benedict on top by a point.
After Travis Keels missed a 16-foot shot from the left baseline at the buzzer, Tigers fans stormed the court.
“With a good team like (Benedict) if you don’t do the little things you’re going to lose,” Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. “I think we learned from some things and will get better.
“We lost to a good team on the road in a good environment. Hopefully, it’ll get us ready for Peach Belt play.”
Augusta State’s five starters combined to shoot 19 for 59 from the field (32 percent). The entire Jaguar team shot a paltry 34 percent from the floor, including a 4 for 17 effort from the perimeter. Augusta State also missed eight of 19 free-throw attempts.
“We just try to learn from it and get ready for the next game,” Keels said. “We have to play better. We have to play better defense when we need to. We have to make shots.”
Armstrong shot 7 for 14 from the field for a team-high 21 points, but he fouled out in overtime, limiting Augusta State’s late-second options. Harold Doby shot 4 for 14 from the field for 11 points with 14 rebounds.
Keels shot 2 for 13 from the field, his worst effort as a Jaguar. Tye Beal shot 2 for 11 from the floor.
“We had a ton of open looks,” Armstrong said. “It’s a learning process. Later on, we’ll knock those shots down.”
Freshman Devonte Thomas, who canned three 3-pointers, chipped in with 11 points, while Hill added 10 points off the bench.
Coming off its season-opening 77-62 win last week over Paine College, Augusta State appeared prime to open its road slate with a win. The Jaguars led 26-20 at halftime. Benedict (1-0) opened the second half on an 8-0 run, and the game became a see-saw battle the rest of the way.
Augusta State struggled containing the Tigers’ 6-foot-10 center Marcus Goode, whose weight was not listed on the roster. Still, he outweighed Doby and Keels by an easy 60 pounds. Throwing his big body around in the paint, Goode finished with a game-high 30 points on 12 of 15 shooting with 12 boards and three blocks.
Despite Goode’s effort, Augusta State dominated the boards. Augusta State grabbed 27 offensive rebounds, 49 total – Benedict had just 30 rebounds.