With the seconds ticking down and a win in hand Wednesday night, Armstrong Atlantic State coach Jeremy Luther called a timeout.
The action didn’t sit well with Augusta State, and the late-game fireworks overshadowed the Jaguars’ poor offensive night.
Against the Pirates’ zone defense, Augusta State struggled again from the field and fell, 73-62, at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Armstrong Atlantic State (6-7, 2-3) snapped the Jaguars’ 41-game regular season home winning streak. Augusta State (5-6, 1-2) also lost its first contest at home to a conference foe since Jan. 28, 2008.
The Jaguars shot a season-low 31 percent from the field, including a 4 for 25 effort from the perimeter. Harold Doby scored 20 points to lead Augusta State, while Devonte Thomas added 19 and Devon Wright-Nelson 14.
The Pirates, led by Chris Vanlandingham’s 18 points, shot 50 percent in the second half. Armstrong led 66-62 with 1:11 and scored the final seven points.
Up nine, Luther called a timeout with 10 seconds left. Despite his motive, the move didn’t go over well with the Jaguars.
“The only reason I called a timeout at the end was to let our guys know how big a win this is,” said Luther, who notched his first victory in six tries against Augusta State. “I told the guys it’s a great win, great victory. Let’s win with class from this point on.”
After the timeout, Augusta State remained on its side of the court. Luther told Keyshore Williams to go in and dunk. Then, Augusta State called a timeout. On the inbounds pass, the ball sailed high over Luther’s head. After the Pirates ran the final three seconds off the board, they exited the floor instead of shaking hands.
“The difficult thing is our new players, which is a lot of them, don’t understand how bad people want to beat us,” Jaguars coach Dip Metress said. “Maybe the end causes the new guys to see how important a win over Augusta State is. I hope that’s a good lesson for those guys.”
The Jaguars, who average a league-low 39 percent from the field, return to practice today trying to figure out how to create some offense. Against the Pirates, Augusta State passed up countless shots on the perimeter. Senior guards Tye Beal and O’Neal Armstrong were benched to start the second half. Armstrong shot 2 for 9 for six points, while Beal missed four shots and didn’t score.
“One of us has to step up and have the confidence to take over,” Wright-Nelson said. “Some people have it in them. But when we get on the court it seems like it’s hard for them.”
“Nobody wanted to shoot the ball,” Metress said. “We were passing up shots that were open. We were afraid to take the shot. I think we’re afraid of the result. And that’s been all year. We’ve got to somehow get through that.”