When it comes to the Augusta State-Paine College basketball rivalry, little needs to be said.
"It's a game that really doesn't need any introduction," Paine coach Ron Spry said. "It'll be a tough game. I know that Augusta State is playing a lot better than we are right now. We're going to have to play our best just to be in the game."
The annual City Classic between the two schools starts tonight at the ASU athletic complex with the women's game at 6 o'clock. The men's game follows at 8. Paine is the home team this year.
Last year, the Lions, members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, felt like the home team, knocking off the Jaguars, 68-58. Guard Yari Scott scored a game-high 27 points to lead Paine.
Scott and guard Colin Jamerson provide Paine (3-7, 2-3 SIAC) a formidable 1-2 punch from the perimeter this season.
Augusta State (8-4, 4-2 Peach Belt Conference) may be without forward Letterance McFadden for a fourth straight game. McFadden is questionable for tonight's game because of a hip injury.
Jaguars' guard Gary Boodnikoff is playing with nine stitches above his eye after being struck in the face last Monday. Guard Jayme Johnson is trying to play through a turf toe injury.
"When we're 100 percent healthy, I think we're good," Tuell said. "Jayme Johnson is still not healthy, and that really affects what we're trying to do. And Letterance being out really hurts us.
"We don't have the depth. We're having to play people who might not be playing as many minutes otherwise. And the people we're playing, I'm not sure they can guard Paine."
In the women's game, Paine (4-6, 1-3 SIAC) is trying to snap a nine-game losing streak to Augusta. The Jaguars own the all-time series with a 24-7 mark.
Donna Hanson is quietly having a solid season off the bench and is the Lady Jaguars' leading 3-point shooter. Sabrina Jones leads Augusta State (4-8, 0-6 PBC) in scoring with 10.7 points a game.
Paine's Tiffany Isaac and Germaletta Dyson are both in the top 10 in SIAC scoring. Isaac paces the Lions with 17 points per game, while Dyson averages 15.4 points and 12 rebounds.
"Paine's got great athletes; they always do," Lady Jaguars coach Greg Wilson said. "Selina (Kohn, Paine coach) has done a great job in organization, and they're starting to arrive. Tiffany Isaac and Germaletta Dyson can play for anybody."
Reach Chris Gay at 868-1222 ext. 114
WHO: Augusta State vs. Paine in City Classic
WHERE: Augusta State Athletic Complex (2,216), Wrightsboro Road
WHEN: Today, 6 p.m. (women); 8 p.m. (men)
TICKETS: $5 (ASU athletic complex box office opens at 4 p.m.)
NOTES: Paine's Yari Scott has scored 21 and 27 points in the past two City Classics. He led the Lions to a 68-58 win last year. Augusta State is much quicker than a year ago. But are the Jaguars healthy enough to win?
Augusta State has dominated the women's series, holding a 24-7 all-time record. The Lady Lions last defeated the Lady Jaguars 64-63 in overtime in the 1991-92 season.