Augusta mounts comeback to end USCA’s season

March 18, 2019


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It was an ending that left everyone struggling to find the words to describe it. USC Aiken was seemingly poised to advance to the Southeast Regional championship game with a mere 5 minutes left in its second round matchup. Then disaster struck from deep — over and over again.

Augusta made a barrage of 3-pointers to erase what was a 19-point lead with 4:47 to play and went on to defeat USCA 93-89 in overtime to advance to the third round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.

USC Aiken head coach Mark Vanderslice could only provide a “short and sweet” answer for what was a bitter pill for he and the Pacers to swallow.

“I’ve been coaching for 20 years, and that’s probably the toughest pill to swallow as long as I’ve been a head coach,” Vanderslice said.

Augusta’s Tyvez Monroe, who played a big part in the Jaguars’ comeback, could only describe it as a dream.

Augusta made seven 3-pointers in the final five minutes of regulation, and Tyree Myers made three free throws after being fouled on a 3-pointer. The biggest was Miguel Arnold’s with 27 seconds to tie the game at 84.

“They couldn’t miss,” Vanderslice said. “We had some really bad turnovers in the open court that complemented their comeback, but when they had the opportunity they took it. We played bad offense, we didn’t play bad defense. They just made remarkable shot after remarkable shot.”

The Jaguars entered the overtime period with all the momentum, and the added bonus that USCA’s leading scorer Ty’lik Evans was on the bench after fouling out along with Doniel Dean.

“That was a shame they were both out,” Augusta head coach Dip Metress said sarcastically.

One more 3 by Monroe gave the Jaguars the lead for good with 2:31 to play in overtime. Each of the Jaguars starters scored in double figures, led by Monroe who scored 21.

Xzavier Barmore scored 24 points to lead the pacers. Evans added 22 points and 6 assists, and Robert Hill scored 15 and grabbed 10 boards.