Gary Tuell was tired of his players not believing in themselves and he told them so at halftime.
The Jaguars came out fired up in the second half and started believing in themselves as they rallied from a 17-point deficit to stun Morehouse College 69-64 in a non-conference matchup at the Augusta State PE/Athletic Complex on Thursday night.
Morehouse College led 39-23 at halftime and 43-26 with 17:18 remaining in the game. But Augusta State (2-6) went on a 34-11 run to take a 60-54 lead with 5:30 remaining in the game.
Guard Oliver Ottley, who led the Jaguars with 20 points, put the game away when he made two free throws with one second remaining in the game.
Morehouse guard Jerome Dodd (16 points) missed a shot that would have tied the game with five seconds remaining. Morehouse (4-4) suffered its second loss in Augusta as it lost to Paine earlier this season.
"We just kept the faith and we kept playing hard," Ottley said. "Coach is right. We haven't had that much confidence, but this should give us some. Hopefully, we can get some more in the conference. It just feels so good to get a win."
Augusta State broke a 16-game losing streak against Georgia colleges. The team had not beaten a Georgia school since a win over Kennesaw State on Feb. 14, 1996.
Tuell said it was one of the most satisfying wins of his coaching career.
"I believe in them," Tuell said. "I just want them to believe in themselves. I told them at halftime we would win this game if you give us the same effort."
Morehouse coach Arthur J. McAfee, who sports a 480-483 record in his 37-year coaching career, was stunned along with his players.
McAfee received a technical foul with 8:11 remaining in the game and the scored tied at 51-51. The Tiger coach said his team did not relax after intermission.
"Augusta (State) just outplayed us," McAfee said. "What I want to say I can't put in print. They did the things they needed to do to get ahead and to stay ahead."
Sophomore guard Leon Brunson, who scored 16 points for Augusta State, said he remembers a similar comeback during his days at Denmark-Olar against arch-rival Blackville-Hilda.
Brunson said the team has a never say die atttitude. The team cut an 18-point deficit against Francis Marion to three before losing, 68-61, and came back from a 12-point deficit against Shorter to send the game into overtime before falling short, 77-71.
All seven of Augusta State's Division II games have been decided by seven points or less.
"We feel like we can come back from any deficit," Brunson said. "I think coach was more or less challenging us (at halftime)."
The Tigers of Morehouse led 39-23 at intermission. Augusta State did not score a point for 8:11 and did not have a field goal in the final 9:44 of the opening half.
When Torris Woolfolk made a field goal with 9:44 remaining in the opening half, Augusta State's deficit was one, 20-19.
The Tigers went on an 11-0 run to take a 31-19 lead. Augusta State finally scored on two free throws by Demetric Taylor with 1:34 remaining in the opening half.
Brunson added two free throws for the other Augusta State points in the half. Brunson broke the team's 10:45 field goal drought with a 3-pointer with 18:59 remaining in the game.
MOREHOUSE (64) -- Herman Banks 2-10 0-0 4, Michael Harris 6-15 3-5 15, James Teague 3-4 0-0 6, Jerome Dodd 6-11 2-2 16, Dadon Dodd 2-2 2-2 6, Michael Santos 1-7 0-0 3, Michael Bonner 0-1 0-0 0, Justin Miller 3-10 3-3 9, Andrew Hill 2-5 1-2 5. Totals 25-67 11-14 64.
AUGUSTA STATE (69) -- Jamaal McClain 3-9 2-2 8, Leon Brunson 4-10 6-6 16, Torris Woolfolk 4-10 6-6 16, Oliver Ottley 7-12 5-5 20, Demetric Taylor 4-13 5-8 14, Frank Burau 0-4 0-0 0, Rechard Larkin 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Paige 0-1 0-0 0, Jason Waters 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-59 20-23 69.
Halftime: Morehouse, 39-23.
3-point goals: Morehouse 3-16 (Banks 0-2, Harris 0-3, J. Dodd (2-4, Santos 1-4, Bonner 0-1, Miller 0-1, Daniels 0-1), Augusta State 5-18 (Brusnon 2-5, Woolfolk 1-1, Ottley 1-3, Taylor 1-6, Burau 0-3). Rebounds: Morehouse 40 (Miller 13), Augusta State 39 (Woolfolk 12). Assists: Morehouse 13 (Banks 4), Augusta State 13 (McClain 8). Turnovers: Morehouse 14, Augusta State 13. Total Fouls: Morehouse 20, Augusta State 17. Fouled Out: Teague. Technicals: Morehouse coach McAfee.
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