Augusta State led for less than two seconds of Saturday's second half but did so when it counted most.
Ben Madgen scored on a layup with 1.5 seconds remaining to cap a 16-4 closing run and lift the 10th-ranked Jaguars to a 74-72 win over Armstrong Atlantic State.
"We just kept fighting," Augusta State forward Fred Brathwaite said. "Nothing against them because they're a great team, but tonight I thought we wanted it more."
Augusta State (10-2, 4-1 Peach Belt) trailed by as many as 11 early in the second half and trailed 68-58 with 5:33 remaining at Christenberry Fieldhouse. The Jaguars allowed one field goal the rest of the way. Brathwaite and Madgen combined for the final nine points for Augusta State.
"I think we stole one tonight," Madgen said. "We just found a way like we have so many times this year."
Brathwaite, who scored a career-high 20 with 12 rebounds, drove the baseline for a layup to tie the game at 70. Later, Brathwaite tied the game with a pair of free throws.
Armstrong Atlantic (10-2, 3-2) drove down the court with a chance to take the lead. But T.T. Hall, against no pressure, was called for a carry with 29.5 seconds remaining.
"That's not a surprise," Brathwaite said. "They were calling the game tight the whole game. Whether or not it's one second left on the clock and you walk, it's a walk."
Augusta State called timeout and set up a play for Madgen, the second-leading scorer in the Peach Belt Conference. The plan was for the junior guard to come off the top of the lane with an attempt to drive the lane.
As he dribbled to the right side of the lane, he got an edge on a defender. Center Garret Siler posted up left of the basket and sucked in the defense. Madgen found an opening for the layup. Madgen shot just 8-for-21 from the field for 23 points, but the final two points gave Augusta State its first lead since the first half.
"He made a big play, a huge play," Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. "We just hung in there."
Greg Hire scored a career-high 13 points for Augusta State. The Jaguars shot 48 percent from the field and were 12-for-13 from the foul line.
Brian Moultrie and Dwight Tolbert each scored 15 to lead the Pirates. Armstrong Atlantic State shot 48 percent from the field, but it went 16-for-23 from the foul line.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.