Two games into the season, Augusta State coach Gary Tuell is still trying to familiarize himself with his team.
Against No. 17 West Georgia on Wednesday night, Tuell ran into a problem not knowing the 10 newcomers on his 15-man roster.
"I was looking down the bench one time, staring at who I wanted to put in the game, and I didn't know," Tuell said. "I don't know what these guys can do and can't do in certain situations."
Augusta State shot 42 percent from the field and lost to the Patriots, 79-74, at George A. Christenberry Fieldhouse. The loss was Augusta State's second to a nationally ranked team. On Friday, the Jaguars (0-2) lost at No. 10 Carson-Newman, 100-83.
"I'm happier tonight than I was at Carson-Newman," Tuell said. "That night, I was ready to fire everybody. Nobody played hard.
"This team will eventually get good. But it's going to take a long, long time."
West Georgia (2-1) stretched its five-point halftime lead to 14 on a pair of Bruce Jolly free throws with 9:20 remaining. The Patriots appeared to be pulling away.
"That wasn't going to happen," West Georgia coach Ed Murphy said. "(Tuell's) teams are real competitive. You're never going to get (Tuell) out of a ballgame."
Augusta State's Chris Harriman converted two consecutive three-point plays. The senior guard added a free throw to trim the deficit in half.
The Jaguars continued to feed off Harriman's energy, going on a 16-4 run, capped by Jason Mills' 3-pointer from the right wing. Augusta State trailed 66-64.
But West Georgia's Jay Sherrell made two free throws to push the lead back to four. Then, the Jaguars turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions,and Augusta State never got within striking distance again.
In the first half, West Georgia broke out to a 27-15 on the strength of six 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes.
Augusta State used a 13-4 run to get back into the game. Jermale Wilkerson's 3-pointer pulled the Jaguars within 31-28. Augusta State trailed by five at halftime.
Wilkerson led four Jaguars in double-digit scoring with 16 points. Harriman poured in 12, and David Siebrands and Marty Dunham each scored 10.
Augusta State returns to action when it plays host to USC Aiken at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the conference opener.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 114.
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