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Lander falls to Augusta, begins PBC Tournament play Wednesday

Lander falls to Augusta, begins PBC Tournament play Wednesday

GREENWOOD – The Lander men's basketball team closed the regular season with an 87-67 loss to Peach Belt Conference regular season champion Augusta Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Horne Arena.

Lander closed the regular season 12-16 overall, 11-11 in the Peach Belt.

The Bearcats will be either the sixth or seventh seed in the PBC Tournament this week, traveling to either USC Aiken or Francis Marion for a quarterfinal game Wednesday night.

The Jaguars improved to 23-5 overall and won the PBC with a 19-3 mark. They enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

Prior to tip-off, Lander honored seniors Jordan Dingle and Rahu Purdie.

Elijah Alston recorded a double-double for the Bearcats, leading them with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He scored 12 points in the second half.

Dingle scored 14 points in his final game at Horne Arena, TJ Knight added a career-high 13 points, and Purdie scored 12 in his final home contest.

Deane Williams led Augusta with a double-double, scoring 24 points on eight of 12 shooting while grabbing 10 boards.

Troy Cracknell added 16 points for the Jaguars, Miguel Arnold scored 15 points before fouling out, Rafael Monteiro scored 14 points while Tyvez Monroe paced the team with six assists.

Augusta broke a 5-all tie with a 12-1 run, taking a 17-6 lead with 12:21 left in the opening half on a Williams jumper.

A dunk by Williams gave the Jaguars a 22-9 advantage. Then Lander made a run, closing within 24-20 with 7:44 to go. Dingle made two three-pointers, Alston had one trey, and Justin Holliday had a driving layup during an 11-2 Bearcat run.

Augusta answered and took its biggest lead of the half at 36-22. But the Bearcats had another run in them as Purdie's three from the right side pulled them within 37-30 with 1:18 left.

The Jaguars scored the final five points of the half for a 42-30 lead at the break.

Alston fueled an 11-3 run in the first two minutes of the second half that cut Lander's deficit to 45-41. The junior guard made a three-pointer, converted a three-point play and made a put-back for eight points. Alston grabbed another offensive rebound, leading to an assist to Knight that resulted in another three-point play.

Cracknell's layup pushed Augusta's lead to 54-43 with 15:35 to go. The Bearcats pulled within six points on three occasions, the last being 58-52 with 12:46 left on Alston's long jumper that banked in off the glass.

The Jaguars got some breathing room with a 21-5 run, taking a 79-57 lead with 7:27 to go on Arnold's three.

Lander made a brief run, pulling within 79-66 with 4:46 left on Purdie's driving layup.