Jags cruise to first-round regional win

NO. 4 AUGUSTA STATE 91, BREVARD 73

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Augusta State coach Dip Metress joked Saturday night he might join Fred Brathwaite and Alex Smith with a hand bandage.

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Augusta State's Daniel Dixon (0) and Travis Keels pressure Brevard's Shane Galloway (left).  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Augusta State's Daniel Dixon (0) and Travis Keels pressure Brevard's Shane Galloway (left).

"I'm going to tape my thumb, too," Metress said. "I guess I'll join the crowd over there."

Fighting through a pair of injuries, Brathwaite and Smith each posted a double-double and Augusta State's defense clamped down in a 91-73 win over Brevard in the first round of the Division II Tournament at Christenberry Fieldhouse.

The fourth-ranked Jaguars (27-3) extended their home winning streak to 29 games and advance to play Anderson at 7:30 p.m. today in the semifinals.

"Whoever we play is going to be an offensive-minded team as well," Metress said. "It's going to be very similar in preparation, though they play differently (than Brevard).

"I'm just excited about playing on Sunday."

Augusta State, the Peach Belt Conference regular- season champion, worked on defense in practice all week. After allowing Armstrong Atlantic State and Montevallo to shoot better than 50 percent from the field the past two games, the Jaguars held the Tornados in check. Brevard shot 45 percent from the field.

"I was pleased defensively," Metress said. "And they're tough to guard because they've got guys who can shoot it who are pretty skilled."

Smith, who had his right thumb taped, gave one of his best performances of the year with his third double-double. Despite getting his hand hit in the second half, he said he'll be fine for today's game.

An all-conference center, Smith posted 18 points and 10 boards. He swished all three attempts from 10 feet over Brevard's 6-foot-10 center Sam Carlisle in the first five minutes to help open up his game.

"I felt like if I hit a couple of jumpers early on, it'd cause him to pull up closer to me which would allow me to get by him later in the game," Smith said. "It helped me out."

Brathwaite recorded 20 points and 15 rebounds, his eighth double-double of the season. The all-region forward tweaked his wrist on a dunk late in the second half, but he added he's fine.

"My wrist has been sore all week," Brathwaite said. "It'll be fine tomorrow. It's nothing to worry about."

Augusta State also got offensive contributions from forward Greg Hire, who scored his second-most points this season with 12, and point guard Daniel Dixon, who made a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the second half, and added eight assists and five steals.

Jaguar guard Ben Madgen, the Southeast Region Player of the Year, posted a team-high 22 points and added five assists.

Madgen said as well as the offense played, defense was much improved since last week.

"It was a lot better than against Montevallo," he said. "We really worked hard on defending the dribble penetration and giving up easy shots. I think there's still a few things we can work on -- stepping up a bit earlier and obviously stopping a few more dribble penetrations. But it was a lot better."

Brevard entered the Southeast Regional with a pair of one-point wins in the South Atlantic Tournament, including a victory over Catawba in the championship game. The Tornados (21-10) set a school record for wins and advanced to the Division II Tournament for the first time.

Josh Roper scored a game-high 27 points to lead Brevard, while Jonathan Whitson added 15. The Tornados got out-rebounded 43-31, including 16 offensive boards by the Jags, and committed 15 turnovers.

"I'm very proud of our guys. This has been a tremendous run for us." Brevard coach Michael Jones said. "The stage that we played on tonight caught us by surprise and we missed some easy shots and we did some things that we don't usually do early on.

View more photos

See a 40-photo gallery from the game by staff photographer Michael Holahan.


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