COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Augusta University men's basketball team couldn't complete a comeback effort against the Columbus State Cougars on Monday night and lost an 86-80 Peach Belt Conference battle in the Lumpkin Center.
The Jaguars (7-3, 0-2 PBC) trailed for the majority of the game until the 12:49 mark in the second half when they tied it for the first time. The lead changed sides four times between the Jags and Columbus State (7-1, 1-1 PBC) in the final six minutes, but the Cougars remained ahead for the win.
Four players scored in double figures for Augusta, with senior Keshun Sherrill leading the way with 25 points. Sophomore Deane Williams carded a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards, sophomore Aaron Byrd booked 14 points, and sophomore Tyvez Monroe scored 10 with five boards.
The Cougars shot above 50 percent from field-goal range and the three-point line for the first half. They ended with a 50.8 field-goal percentage (32-of-63) and a 45.8 three-point mark (11-of-24).
Augusta posted a 43.8 field-goal percentage (28-of-64) and a 23.1 three-point percentage (6-or-26). The Jags outscored CSU 18-16 at the free-throw line and outrebounded them 37-35.
JaCori Payne hit a three pointer and a jumper for CSU to begin the game and Tamyrik Fields kissed made the first Jaguar basket off an assist from a Ja'Shawn Brooks. Payne scored the first seven points for the Cougars as they held the lead for the entire first half.
The Jags made it a four point game on Fields' free throw with 9:26 to play, but two quick three pointers from Columbus kept Augusta at ease.
Sophomore Aaron Byrd came off the bench to score five fast points and dish two assists for the Jags and Sherrill fought his way to the free throw line to hit four for a 30-26 score. Byrd had 11 points and Sherrill 10 after the first half, but CSU made six treys to Augusta's three.
The Cougars' Payne and Darius Joell anchored CSU's early offense. Columbus State took the half 44-36 and led by as much as 11 points. Payne had 18 first-half points and Joell 11. Payne ended with 27 total and Joell 21 points.
Trailing by seven to start the second half, Augusta exchanged three pointers with CSU. Arben Camaj hit one for the Cougars and Tyvez Monroe connected from deep for the Jags. The Sherrill and Byrd continued when Sherrill found Byrd for a three pointer to make it 51-46 with 16:46 to play.
After a CSU bucket, Doyle got a steal and hit a shot for Augusta and senior Vlad Cobzaru cut the score to three with a layup. The Jaguars tied the game 55-all on Monroe's three ball with 12:49 on the clock and Monroe found Doyle a good layup that gave the team their first lead of the night.
Under six minutes, the game was even 67-all. Augusta was outscored 19-13 for the rest of the game and dropped an 86-80 game.
Augusta plays at UNC Pembroke in Pembroke, N.C., on Monday, Jan. 2 for their next test in Peach Belt Conference play.
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