Augusta State seniors end careers on sour note

The last seconds gone, Franck Ndongo walked off the court and pulled up his jersey over part of his face as George Johnson went to the floor on his stomach, dejected.

Augusta State's Howard Brown is pressured by Oskars Ernsteins as he looks to pass.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Augusta State's Howard Brown is pressured by Oskars Ernsteins as he looks to pass.

Later, fellow seniors Caleb Brown and Howard Brown sat in chairs, their eyes red, as the seniors' successful tenures had ended.

No more home winning streak. No more trips to Springfield, Mass., for a shot at the national championship. No more games as Jaguars.

"I felt like I gave it my all," said Johnson, who hit a school-record 104 3-pointers this season, including four Tuesday night on his way to 18 points.

Trailing by as many as nine points, Augusta State eventually led by three points as late as one minute to play in the second half, thus on the verge of stretching its home winning streak to 49 games and moving to 64-2 at home the past four seasons.

The Jaguars even made a couple of defensive stops up three but came up empty on offense to allow the Trojans to stay in the contest.

Then, Ndongo, who started the game by making 9 of 11 field goal attempts and 8 of 8 free throws on his way to a game-best and career-high 28 points, missed two free throws with 42 seconds remaining, with the first foul shot bouncing out. Ndongo posted a double-double in all three Division II tournament games.

From there, Kevis Cornwell hit a jumper to tie the game with 27 seconds to play in regulation as Anderson scored nine of the final 13 points.

In their last games, Johnson and Ndongo combined to score the Jaguars' first 14 points and were the only players to score in double figures for the home side. They also shared the honor as the region's most outstanding players.

At the start of the game, Caleb Brown and Howard Brown joined with Johnson and Ndongo to post Augusta State's first 18 points.

Caleb Brown then aided in the comeback when he scored five quick points in the second half. After he put in a layup, the guard added a 3-pointer to bring his team to within 55-52.

But the Trojans closed strongly as Augusta State fell two points short of making its fourth consecutive Elite Eight appearance despite entering the season with five new starters.

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JM88 03/16/11 - 01:18 pm
It sounds cliche, but they

It sounds cliche, but they are all four truly good guys. They can hang their heads today, but they shouldn't hang them for them for long. We love them here at ASU and will always remember their contributions.

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