CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The No. 16 Augusta University men's basketball team caught fire from the three-point line and pulled out an 93-89 victory over No. 17 USC Aiken in the NCAA Southeast Region semifinal game on Sunday afternoon in The Levine Center. Augusta trailed by 21 points with 12:00 to play in regulation, but steady three-point shooting forced extra time where AU prevailed to win its 15th game in a row.
Augusta senior Tyvez Monroe went 7-for-14 from three-point land to will the Jaguars back into the game. Monroe finished with 21 points as all five starting Jags scored in double figures for the second-straight game.
"I love big moments, I love the light," Monroe said. "This was about coming back and making good shots. All I knew is that if we cut the lead to about five with two minutes to go we were going to be alright. We came to overtime and we got the win. I've been doing this since I got here. I've been making big shots my whole life."
Freshmen Miguel Arnold and Tyree Myers each scored 16 points, with Myers adding six assists, six rebounds, and three steals. Arnold drained four three pointers in the win. Jags senior Deane Williams got in foul trouble early, but totaled 13 points, eight rebounds, and three assists and blocks. Junior Rafael Monteiro scored 12 and added five assists.
No. 16 nationally-ranked Augusta is making its 12th trip to the NCAA Tournament and played in the semifinal game for the ninth time in school history. Meeting third-seeded and No. 17 nationally-ranked USC Aiken for the fourth time this season, the second-seeded Jaguars played their second overtime game in two days after beating Francis Marion in the quarterfinals.
The Jags took the lead early in the opening minutes, but USCA tied the game and stole the advantage on a 7-0 run. The Pacers led by 14 in the first half, but Augusta's 10-0 run got them within four at the 01:45 mark. USCA went into the half on top 37-28. The Jaguars trailed until tying the game late.
The Jaguars hit 17 three pointers in the game. After trailing by as much as 21 in the second half with 12:00 minutes on the clock, Augusta caught fire from the three-point line with under 6:30 in the game. Monroe hit five three pointers and Arnold made three to help the Jags tie the game in the close of regulation. With one minute to play, Augusta trailed 80-75. Down to 32 seconds, Augusta was down 84-81, but an Arnold three pointer tied the ball game. Williams blocked a shot with seven seconds left and Augusta forced overtime tied 84-84.
In overtime, Augusta outscored USCA 9-5 and won its 15th game in a row. Up 91-89, the Jags got two points from a goaltending call and held off the pesky Pacers from there. In his ninth appearance in the NCAA tourney, AU head Coach Dip Metress is now 19-8 with the Jags.
The Jaguars face the winner of top-seed and host Queens vs. fourth-seeded Catawba on Tuesday, March 19 in the NCAA Southeast Region championship game at 7:00 p.m. in Charlotte, N.C.