Nordic temperatures may have invaded America’s oldest city on Wednesday, but those were not nearly as crippling as the shooting display Mikkel Kolstad put on later in the day to lead Augusta University to a Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball win over Flagler College.
The sophomore from Bergen, Norway scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Jaguars to an 89-80 win over the Saints at Flagler Gymnasium.
Flagler trailed for the entirety of the second half. The Saints (4-5, 1-4) cut their deficit to one possession on multiple occasions, including 70-68 with 7:19 to go, but were unable to overtake the Jaguars (7-4, 4-1).
Augusta responded with five quick points after Cortlin Davis’ layup cut its advantage to two points. The Jaguars held off the Saints down the stretch.
“I definitely saw things for us that were improvements,” said Flagler coach Chad Warner. “I felt we battled and competed. But, at the end of the day, we may be out-talented a little bit. That’s a really good basketball team, in my opinion. It’s one we don’t match up with great from a size standpoint. They have good players. (Kolstad) stepped up for them and had a career night. It’s tough to beat a team when they do that.”
Statistically, the teams mirrored each other. Both had four players in double figures and went 31 of 65 from the field. Augusta made nine 3-pointers to Flagler’s eight and both schools held their opponent to one-shot possessions for most of the game. Flagler snagged 27 defensive rebounds and Augusta snared 28.
Warner said Augusta has so many weapons Flagler had to choose who was going to be the one it focused on. Kolstad entered Wednesday night’s contest as the Jaguars’ fourth-leading scorer behind forwards Deane Williams, Tamyrik Fields and Tyvez Monroe. Kolstad was 8 of 14 from the field, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
“He’s been practicing good and he’s a good player,” Augusta coach Dip Metress said of the 6-foot-3 sophomore. “He’s been getting extra shots up. He was very confident tonight, which is good because he’s a good player.”
Williams scored 17 while Fields and Monroe added 12 apiece for the Jaguars. Flagler was led by Damerit Brown’s 22 points. Jeffercy Jean nearly had a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. That production was mitigated by the fact the Saints couldn’t get much from their post players. Chris Williams was held scoreless in 12 minutes of action, Connor Jack was scoreless in eight minutes and Chris Metzger scored two points, but committed three fouls in three minutes.
“We executed on some important possessions,” Metress said, praising his squad for being able to withstand Flagler’s best shot. “We got the ball inside. We’re not a 3-point shooting team and they are. Flagler is a good team.”
Though Metress has recruited players from nearly three dozen countries in his career, he spent a long time speaking with a player from right up the road. Ponte Vedra senior Jack Johnson, an Augusta signee, was in attendance to cheer on his future team.
Augusta has won two of its first three conference road games. Flagler will have an opportunity to win its first on Saturday against a Lander squad that is in the conference cellar.
“We haven’t competed on the road yet,” Warner said. “We haven’t gone on the road, in the league, and played with any kind of fight. That’s what we have to focus on this weekend. That’s the great challenge for us.”