Jaguars set sights on tournament win

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Reviewing and previewing local college basketball:

WHO'S HOT

Augusta State men. The Jaguars clinched their first outright Peach Belt Conference regular season title with a win Wednesday at Columbus State. Next on the agenda: win the conference tournament and play host to the South Atlantic regional.

WHO'S NOT

Clayton State men. The Lakers began the season at No. 2 in the nation and played that way until recently. The Morrow, Ga., school has lost four of its past seven.

FICTIONAL BALLOT

If The Augusta Chronicle could vote in the Peach Belt Conference postseason awards, here's what the ballot would look like.

- Player of the Year: Tyrekus Bowman, Augusta State. Bowman is on pace to finish as the league's leading scorer and should garner All-American accolades.

- Coach of the Year: Dip Metress, Augusta State. Metress has toned down his on-court act this season (just two technicals) and given Augusta State possibly its best-ever team with a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament a lock. - Freshman of the Year: Ben Madgen, Augusta State. Of all the Australian players to come through the program, Madgen has had the best first season. He is one of the Peach Belt's best 3-point and free-throw shooters.

RANKING THE MEN'S TEAMS

1. Augusta State (21-3, 13-0). Jaguars are trying to become the first team to go perfect in the Peach Belt since Division II national champion Kennesaw State in 2003-04.

2. Paine (16-7, 14-5). Lions rebounded from loss to No. 17 Benedict with a nice road win at Stillman to remain in second place in SIAC. 3. Aiken Tech (19-6, 12-2). Knights lost a pair of games because of poor free-throw shooting.

4. USC Aiken (9-18, 3-10). One more victory and the Pacers will reach the 10-win mark for the first time in three seasons.

RANKING THE WOMEN'S TEAMS

1. Paine (15-9 13-4). Lady Lions still have a shot at SIAC crown, but they need another Benedict loss.

2. USC Aiken (16-8, 8-5). Lady Pacers have won five of their past six and are in position to win the Peach Belt North Division for the first time in five seasons.

3. Augusta State (16-7, 8-5). Just when the team jumped into the South Atlantic Region rankings at No. 9, it loses to Columbus State.

- Chris Gay


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