Men's basketball falls behind early, drops 79-55 decision to Augusta

Men's basketball falls behind early, drops 79-55 decision to Augusta

GREENWOOD – The Augusta University Jaguars posted five double-figure scorers as they pulled away early and defeated the Lander Bearcats 79-55 in Peach Belt Conference action Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena.

Lander fell to 7-12 overall, 3-10 in the Peach Belt. The Jaguars improved to 11-8, 8-5.

The Bearcats were coming off a 110-106 win over North Georgia on Wednesday night, marking Lander's highest-scoring game in seven years, but couldn't match that scoring effort on Saturday.

Jordan Dingle led the Bearcats with 18 points, scoring 13 in the second half. Sergio Smith added eight points for Lander, Srdjan Ivic had a game-high 12 rebounds, and Rahu Purdie paced the team with four assists.

Tamyrik Fields led Augusta with 16 points and eight rebounds. Aaron Byrd added 14 points for the Jaguars, Deane Williams scored 12 points, Tyvez Monroe contributed 11 points, and Mikkel Kolstad added 10 points.

Augusta raced out to a 15-4 lead over the game's first seven minutes, including eight points from Fields while holding Lander to one of 14 shooting from the floor.

The Bearcats missed their first 10 shots from behind the arc before Dingle hit the team's first 3-pointer of the game, pulling the hosts within 21-13 with 8:47 left in the opening half.

Kyle Doyle's basket in the paint as the shot clock was expiring increased the Jaguar lead to 27-13 with 6:29 to go. Augusta repeated that feat when Byrd swished a desperation 3 as the clock was about to expire, making it 30-15 at the 3:17 mark.

Lander trailed 36-17 at the break, having made only five of 27 shots from the floor (16 percent). Meanwhile, the Jaguars made 15 of 30 shots (50 percent) in the opening half.

The Bearcats didn't make much of a dent into their deficit early in the second half. Smith drove the baseline for a layup that pulled Lander within 40-24 at the 18-minute mark. But Augusta responded with a 16-4 run over the next four minutes, including a pair of Byrd 3s, to make it 56-28.

Kolstad's 3 from the right corner increased the Jaguar lead to 60-32 with 11:49 left.

Dingle scored eight points including a pair of 3s during a 17-7 Lander run as the hosts were within 67-49 with 6:45 to go.

Byrd stole the ball near mid-court, was fouled, and made two free throws as Augusta increased its lead to 73-49 with 5:03 left.

Lander shot 45 percent from the floor in the second half (13 of 25) but could not gain enough ground.