Harold Doby approved of his head coach’s all-white suit on Saturday.
With Dip Metress wearing a white jacket, with a white shirt, white tie, white pants, white socks – and yes – white shoes, Augusta State posted its finest defensive performance of the season against rival Armstrong Atlantic State.
Doby recorded 18 points and 13 points and the Jaguars pulled away for a 74-56 win over the Pirates.
“I like it. He came to party,” Doby said of Metress’ attire. “I’ll tell him to keep it on all year, because I’m a superstitious guy.”
With Metress going full bore for Augusta State’s “Whiteout” – the rental suit goes back Monday, he said – the Jaguars stopped a slide that included three losses in the past four games. More importantly, Augusta State (8-3, 4-1) climbed back into first place in the Peach Belt Conference East Division.
Playing its first game in almost a month at Christenberry Fieldhouse, Augusta State recorded season bests in opponent points and opponent field-goal percentage. Armstrong Atlantic State (8-5, 4-2), which snapped the Jaguars’ 41-game regular season home winning streak last January, shot 32 percent from the floor, 21 percent in the first half.
Metress credited his players – especially sophomore Roman Hill – stepping up in practice the previous three days, keeping everyone accountable for their own actions. Devonte Thomas, who snapped his shooting slump with a 6 for 13 effort from the floor for 15 points, said Metress didn’t have to say much in practice.
“We just took it on our own every day,” Thomas said. “We worked hard and went at it.”
After last year’s fireworks between the teams – Doby threw a ball over Pirates coach Jeremy Luther’s head in Augusta; Thomas took a jaw-breaking punch to the face in Savannah, Ga. – the teams kept it cool on the court. Besides, how could anyone be upset after looking at Metress’ suit?
“I started laughing,” Luther said. “I said he’s either paid really well to buy that kind of suit for one game a year or he’s turned into an angel. Dip’s a good guy and he does a great job. He gets his teams to play hard and to play tough.”
Augusta State showed its resilience after blowing a 16-point lead with 13:22 remaining. League leading scorer Aric Miller, who posted a game-high 27 points, scored eight points to fuel an 11-0 run to pull the Pirates within 49-44. Then, Doby got it going in a big way.
Off an assist from Ryan Weems, Doby scored on a layup. On the Jaguars’ next possession, the two hooked up again. Then after a Miller layup, Doby grabbed a Weems’ missed 3-pointer, sticking it back in to push the lead back to nine.
Doby collected 11 rebounds (six offensive) after intermission. He also scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 8:38.
“He was relentless on the glass,” said Metress. “He just played hard. He was huge for us.”
Augusta State shot 48 percent from the floor – its best shooting effort since November – and added a season-high 23 assists. Weems added 15 points.
The Jaguars are now 1-0 when Metress wears his a white suit. But don’t expect him to don it anytime soon.
“This,” he said, “is a one-shot deal.”