Augusta State wins after top player is ejected

Augusta State 72, North Georgia 53

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Augusta State’s heart grew three sizes larger Saturday night after its star player was ejected midway through the first half.

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North Georgia's Elijah Smith is surrounded by Augusta State's O'Neal Armstrong (left) and Travis Keels in Saturday's Peach Belt Conference game. The Jags avoided back-to-back losses at home with the victory.  Sara Caldwell/Staff
Sara Caldwell/Staff
North Georgia's Elijah Smith is surrounded by Augusta State's O'Neal Armstrong (left) and Travis Keels in Saturday's Peach Belt Conference game. The Jags avoided back-to-back losses at home with the victory.

D’Angelo Boyce and Travis Keels each posted career games as the Jaguars rallied together for a 72-53 men’s basketball win over North Georgia.

Augusta State improved to 6-6 overall, 2-2 in Peach Belt Conference play. The Jaguars also avoided back-to-back losses at Christenberry Field­house; Augusta State has never dropped consecutive home contests in Dip Metress’ eight-year tenure.

After an 11-point defeat Wednes­day to Armstrong Atlantic State, Met­ress shook up the starting lineup. Boyce started at point guard, while Devonte Thomas started at shooting guard. The move worked.

Boyce delivered his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 as­sists. Thomas, who got in early foul trouble, added three points.

With Boyce leading the offense and playing a career-high 32 minutes, Augusta State posted a season-high 25 assists against just eight turnovers.

“(Boyce) played very well, and it was contagious,” Metress said. “The ball moved well.”

Augusta State got off to a fast start, but the team took a major blow when leading scorer Harold Doby was ejected with 9:46 left in the first half.

After getting fouled on a drive to the basket, Doby walked to the foul line. Then, North Georgia’s Scott Windom, got in his face. Doby slapped Smith, drawing a technical. The three referees discussed the play, eventually calling the slap a Flagrant 2 foul – the most severe penalty.

Doby was ejected and will serve a one-game suspension Wednesday, when Augusta State plays host to Lander; Metress plans to appeal the suspension.

Doby departed the floor with just two points and one rebound, and the Jaguars trailed 19-15, facing a huge void in the middle of the paint.

“Doby’s a heck of a player,” Boyce said. “Everybody just had to step up.”

Keels, a junior center, did just that, scoring 19 of his career-high 21 points after the Doby ejection.

Keels, who took just 11 shots the previous three games, converted 10 of 14 attempts and added three blocks.

“I’ve just tried to get in the gym and get up more shots,” Keels said. “Working on my shot helped me build some confidence. My coaches and teammates had confidence in me. I just needed to have confidence myself. I did tonight.”

Devon Wright-Nelson and O’Neal Armstrong each added 11 points for Augusta State. The Jaguars shot 53 percent from the floor, their highest percentage of the season. North Georgia shot 38 percent from the field. Scott Windham led the Saints with 18 points.

AUGUSTA STATE 72, NORTH GEORGIA 53

PLAY OF THE GAME: After Harold Doby got ejected midway through the first half, the Jaguars went on a 17-7 run to take a 32-27 lead at intermission.

STAR OF THE GAME: Freshman guard D’Angelo Boyce posted career highs with 15 points and 11 assists.

NEXT: Lander at Augusta State, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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tabletop
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tabletop 01/08/12 - 09:58 pm
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Congratulations to D'Angelo

Congratulations to D'Angelo Boyce. From the time I saw him in practice I believed that he could be a special player. He had a fantastic game. On the other hand, Harold Doby needs to improve his attitude. For the last two games it was terrible. It was apparent in the stands. It may not have been an anomaly that the Jags did so well after he was ejected.

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