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MORROW — The Augusta University coaching staff knew they could trust Keshun Sherrill when things got tight and the senior guard didn’t let them down.
Entering the contest averaging 25 points a game, Sherrill surpassed that mark with 28 points and got hot at a critical moment in the second half to help the Jaguars secure an 83-73 road win at The Loch on January 9.
“He’s a bad boy,” Augusta men’s coach Dip Metress said. “He’s a great player. He was 64 points coming into the game from getting 2,000 for his career. To be honest, he didn’t play well tonight. He forced two or three shots but he did a great job. His teammates do a great job of setting screens to get him open. He’s an unbelievable guy to come off of screens and hit shots.”
Junior Tamyrik Fields consistently nailed mid-range baseline jumpers to finish with 17 points off the bench and sophomore Tyvez Monroe sunk five 3-pointers on the way to a 15-point outing for Augusta, which improved to 11-3 overall and 4-2 in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC).
After leading by as many as 12 points, the Jaguars saw their lead shrink to 63-62 following a pair of free throws by Alfonso Davis (22 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) with 9:23 left in the game.
But then Sherrill personally killed the momentum of that 8-0 run. First, the 5-9 guard, who is a native of the great state of North Carolina, nailed a jumper after a pass from Monroe nearly a minute later. Then Sherrill added another jumper off the dribble with 6:58 to go.
After Davis countered with a jumpshot on the other end, Sherrill answered with a 3-pointer on an assist from Fields for a 70-64 score. Then with 5:59 remaining, Fields found Sherrill for another jumper and an eight-point advantage.
The Jags never let the Lakers get back within a possession of being able to tie the game or take the lead, and made nine of their final 12 foul shots to drop Clayton State to 7-7 overall and 2-3 in the PBC.
“We got crushed on the glass which is a concern but Alfonso and those guys do a pretty good job of getting on the glass,” Metress said. “It’s a good road win. We started out the league 0-2 and now we’ve won four in a row in the league. We didn’t guard. Tonight, we guarded in the second half and that made a big difference.”
Clayton State freshman Christoff Nairn (12 points) scored the first two points of the contest but Augusta responded with the next 12 points, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Sherrill.
“Ironically in the locker room, we didn’t think they were focused and we said something to them,” Metress said. “Last year, Clayton State came to our place and went up 17-2 before we came back and beat them. I was telling our guys we got to be ready because a lot of those guys are back. Our guys came out clicking.”
Dantez Bennamon had 11 points and Maurice White added nine off the bench for the Lakers, who clawed back within four points in the first half before heading to the locker room trailing 48-38 at the break.