Anderson stuns Augusta State in D-II tourney

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Augusta State fans chanted "A-S-U" one final time after the final buzzer sounded. The four shell-shocked seniors found no solace in their Blue Crew's support.

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Augusta State's Franck Ndongo bobbles the ball while Anderson's Trey Britton tries to defend. Ndongo had 28 points but missed two free throws down the stretch.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Augusta State's Franck Ndongo bobbles the ball while Anderson's Trey Britton tries to defend. Ndongo had 28 points but missed two free throws down the stretch.

After making three consecutive trips to Springfield, Mass., the Jaguars fell one win short of a return to the Bay State on Tuesday evening.

Despite mounting a late second-half comeback, No. 3 Augusta State fell in overtime to Anderson, 75-73, in the Division II Southeast Regional championship game.

The seventh-seeded Trojans cut down the nets and advanced to the Elite Eight, while Augusta State (30-4) was left sitting at home with its collection of banners and retired jerseys from recent seasons. The top-seeded Jaguars, who have played host to the past five regionals, watched their winning streak at Christenberry Fieldhouse end at 48 games in front of 1,910 fans.

Augusta State coach Dip Metress successfully replaced all five senior starters off last season's Elite Eight squad. Seniors Franck Ndongo and teammate George Johnson, who each tied for regional outstanding player honors, helped the Jaguars tie a school record for wins in a season. Augusta State also won the Peach Belt Conference regular- season and tournament titles.

"I guess we're winners," said senior center Howard Brown, who will leave with five championship rings. "It's a tough loss, a real tough loss."

"Tough loss," Metress said. "Give Anderson all the credit. They made some tough shots in the first half."

The Trojans (21-11) swished seven 3-pointers in the first half and established a 39-32 halftime lead. Augusta State trailed by as many as nine with 10:56 remaining but rallied and took a 67-64 lead on a Johnson 3-pointer at the 3:09 mark..

The Jaguars then blew two chances to extend the margin. Johnson, who scored 18 points, committed a turnover and Ndongo missed a layup. Later, Augusta State led by two when Ndongo, who finished with a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, stepped to the line for two foul shots with 42 seconds left. After making his first eight attempts from the foul line, he watched the first shot bounce out. Then, he left the second attempt short.

"It was huge. I was planning on him making both of them," said Anderson coach Jason Taylor, who had two plays set up if Ndongo made at least one free throw. "By the time he missed both I scratched everything. I just wanted to get the ball to the rim."

Anderson knotted the game at 69 when Kevis Cornwell pulled up for a 15-foot jumper with 27 seconds left. The Jaguars held for the final shot and got the ball to Johnson, who fumbled it on the perimeter. Augusta State never got off a good shot.

In overtime, the Jaguars were 1 for 9 from the field. Anderson, which was 2 for 3, picked up its lone two blocks after regulation. Augusta State's O'Neal Armstrong stole the ball from Brandon Young at midcourt, but Trey Britton raced down and swatted his fast-break layup attempt.

Johnson tied the contest on two free throws with 1:33 left in overtime. Taylor Shugart, who scored 14 for the Trojans, responded with a jump hook in the lane. After Ndongo missed inside, Anderson's Denzail Jones, who also scored 14, went to the line for the 1-and-1 with 17 seconds remaining. An 85 percent free-throw shooter, he missed the front end and Ben Purser grabbed the rebound.

Purser then drove inside in an effort to tie the game. Shugart leaped high and blocked him with two seconds on the clock. The ball shot over to Tye Beal on the right baseline. Time expired before his desperation missed long.

"I saw him try to shoot the ball," Shugart said of the block. "With every ounce of energy, I tried to jump up and block it."

Shugart, a member of Anderson's team that lost by 30 to Augusta State in last year's regional semifinals before falling to the Jaguars by six to start this season, said his team got its revenge.

"We knew it was a payback game," said Shugart, whose team is making its first Elite Eight trip said. "This feels amazing. I don't know what this feels like."

Augusta State, which won this year with defense, allowed Anderson to shoot 50 percent from the floor -- its worst defensive effort at home. The Trojans, who scored 34 points in the paint, collected 12 offensive rebounds.

"We wanted to establish an inside presence," Taylor said. "And I thought our guys defended their tails off all night long."

Augusta State shot 47 percent from the field, but it was the missed opportunities at the end of regulation and overtime that left it searching for answers.

Comments (10) Add comment
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jbfj
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jbfj 03/15/11 - 11:01 pm
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Complete meltdown at end of

Complete meltdown at end of regulation. Free throws finally came back to bite us. Absolute worst time to have a home winning streak snapped. Lots of time to think about what went wrong tonight. Very long off season to let this one sink in. Go Jags...

animate
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animate 03/16/11 - 06:50 am
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Hold your heads high, ASU!

Hold your heads high, ASU! What a great season you had, and you made it further than alot of teams did. You've got nothing to be be ashamed of, I'm proud of you guys. Go Jags!

agrit
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agrit 03/16/11 - 07:41 am
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ASU had a great season and

ASU had a great season and absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Last night was a great game! Go Jags!

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 03/16/11 - 07:57 am
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Go Jaguars!!! jbfj, it would

Go Jaguars!!! jbfj, it would have been nice to have gotten a shot off at the end of regulation instead of trying to inbound the ball with 1.1 seconds. Give Anderson credit--they made plays on our home floor where opponents in the past have faltered. It is a tough loss. We lost to a #7 seed at home which looked like a best-case scenario. 30-4 is still a great season. People forget this team was only picked second in the conference behind Aiken. Many people around the PBC still thought we had a great team...

tuffenuf4u
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tuffenuf4u 03/16/11 - 08:42 am
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My feeling about an overtime

My feeling about an overtime game is that it is anyone's game at that point. ASU has had a great season and there is no reason to feel bad. Go Jags!

JM88
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JM88 03/16/11 - 08:52 am
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When we got knocked out by

When we got knocked out by Cal Poly Pomona and Bentley the last two years, I felt like we lost without giving our best effort. That's really hard to swallow. Last night I felt like we left it all on the floor; Anderson just took it from us. It's still a bitter pill, but you can at least live with that.

DowntownJaguar
121
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DowntownJaguar 03/16/11 - 08:58 am
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JM88, I think some of those

JM88, I think some of those teams were so talented they could win easily by just going through the motions. I'm not saying they didn't give effort but they just didn't have to scrap and fight like this team. I love this team and the effort it gave. That Cal-Poly game still stings and will always be what could have been.

DowntownJaguar
121
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DowntownJaguar 03/16/11 - 09:56 am
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jbfj, you also said this team

jbfj, you also said this team could lose 20 games....

JM88
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JM88 03/16/11 - 01:15 pm
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Agreed, Downtown. What really

Agreed, Downtown. What really hurt about the Pomona game (and the Bentley game as well) was that we missed so many open shots that we had made during the course of the year. I'm not saying we didn't play hard, we just made uncharacteristic mistakes, and that made those losses such heartbreakers. We played well last night, Anderson was just a little better. People can feel point to Ndongo's missed free throws, but we're not even in that game without Franck's monster performance up to that point. We didn't beat ourselves, we just got beat. It sucks, but like I said, you can live with it.

Riverman1
83634
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Riverman1 03/16/11 - 04:26 pm
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Georgia State is talking to

Georgia State is talking to Dip. Told ya.

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