Augusta State senior forward Tyrekus "A.J." Bowman faced a major problem with the Jaguars' game at Georgia.
He didn't have enough tickets to satisfy requests from friends and family.
The seniors were allotted four tickets each. The underclassmen received two. Bowman, who grew up 45 miles outside of Athens in Tignall, Ga., was left to barter with freshmen and sophomores.
"I need a lot," he said. "They can't give me as many as I need."
After two months of talk, No. 5 Augusta State finally will face Georgia at 7:30 tonight at Stegeman Coliseum.
This will be the Jaguars' first regular-season game against a Division I opponent since a blowout loss to Georgia Southern on Nov. 26, 2005, and it will mark their first game against Georgia since the 1988-89 season.
Augusta State (4-1) planned to play Georgia in an exhibition game, but at the last minute, one of the Bulldogs' regular-season games fell through.
"We're fortunate enough to get this game scheduled," Jaguars coach Dip Metress said. "I appreciate them giving us this opportunity."
Georgia, led by guards Billy Humphrey and Sundiata Gaines, is 4-1, with wins over Jacksonville State, Grambling State, Elon and Delaware State. The Bulldogs lost by 19 at Wisconsin.
Metress said Augusta State had not prepared much for Georgia, but the team planned to watch film Sunday.
"I know they're prepared for us, because we've exchanged a lot of video with them," he said.
Metress said he expects at least 300 to 400 Jaguars fans to be in attendance. And how much of that crowd is related Bowman is yet to be determined.
"I have a bunch of family who haven't seen me play," Bowman said. "That's what I'm most excited about. It isn't really so much playing ... yes it is. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't."
Bowman leads Augusta State with a 16.6 scoring average, just ahead of sophomore guard Ben Madgen (16.0). Junior center Garret Siler is averaging 15.6 points and 10.6 boards.
The 7-foot, 306-pound Siler will go head-to-head with Georgia's starting frontcourt of Rashaad Singleton (7-0, 255) and Dave Bliss (6-10, 255).
"I just have to get ready to play," said Siler, who also has 16 blocks.
"I have to step up to the challenge."
Metress is not making any predictions, but he knows what his team has to do.
"The key is to stay out of foul trouble, rebound it and don't turn it over," he said. "If we can do those things, we can hang around."
Madgen said Augusta State is going to give Georgia its best shot.
"I just want to be competitive first and then we'll see," he said. "I don't want to get ahead of ourselves and say we're going to go down there and get a win. If we play to our full potential anything can happen."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Stegeman Coliseum, Athens
RADIO: WGAC (580 AM)
KEY PLAYERS: Augusta State--C Garret Siler (15.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg), F Tyrekus Bowman (16.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg), G Ben Madgen (16.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg); Georgia--G Sundiata Gaines (11.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg), G Billy Humphrey (14.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg), G Terrance Woodbury (9.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg). Note: Augusta State is organizing a bus trip to the game including a game ticket for $15 (Jaguar Club members) or $25 (non-members). Call (706) 737-1626.