Jaguars excited to play at James Brown Arena

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 7:44 PM
Last updated 10:56 PM
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Members of Augusta State's basketball team practices on the court at James Brown Arena, where they will face Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday. This is the first time in 17 seasons that the Jaguars will play a game at the arena.   CHRIS GAY/STAFF
CHRIS GAY/STAFF
Members of Augusta State's basketball team practices on the court at James Brown Arena, where they will face Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday. This is the first time in 17 seasons that the Jaguars will play a game at the arena.

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).

IF YOU GO

WHO: No. 20 Lincoln Memorial (7-1) vs. No. 12 Augusta State (6-0)

WHERE: James Brown Arena

WHEN: 6 tonight

TICKETS: $7 adults, $5 military personnel, their families and seniors. All Augusta State/Georgia Health Sciences students, faculty and staff will be admitted free. The donation of an unwrapped gift will also gain fans free admission.

NOTE: At halftime, Augusta State will recognize alumnus and outgoing Augusta-Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength.

UNIQUE ROAD GAME

The Paine men travel to play USC Aiken for the first time in 15 seasons when they face off at 7:30 p.m. at the convocation center. The third-ranked Lady Pacers play host to Anderson at 5:30.

The Pacers (5-2) have won three in a row after losing on the road to Winston-Salem State and Benedict. USC Aiken will face a Paine squad (2-2) that demolished West Georgia on Saturday behind Jerel Stephenson’s 23 points and 10 rebounds in his debut with the Lions.

– From staff reports


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