For six minutes, Shane Banks was hotter than the devil himself.
The Tusculum forward went on a 3-point shooting spree in the second half and the Pioneers shot down Augusta State 82-81 in the nightcap of the Augusta State Holiday Classic on Tuesday night.
Banks sparked a 25-0 Tusculum run in the second half with five 3-pointers in a six-minute span. He capped the run with a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Pioneers up 63-56 with 9:42 left in the game. Banks ended the game with 26 points on the strength of eight 3-pointers.
Tusculum's (9-4) comeback knocked the confidence out of Augusta State (5-5), which the Jaguars had built with a 47-33 halftime lead.
"We got happy at halftime," Augusta State coach Gary Tuell said. "We thought we had the game won. We started celebrating too soon."
After Augusta State's Brian Calvin made a free-throw to put the Jaguars up 56-38 with 17:05 left in the game, the Pioneers went into a half-court trap and shut down the Augusta State offense.
A Tim McPhail layup put Tusculum up 71-62 with 3:50 remaining in the game. But Kavossy Franklin knocked down a 3-pointer with :52 left in the game to cut the lead to 77-73.
The Pioneers' Bruno Borja, however, made four consecutive free throws to build an insurmountable 81-73 lead with :32 left in the game.
"We're a very young team that lost focus," Tuell said. "They were playing harder than us in the second half. We didn't play hard."
Franklin, who had 40 free throw attempts in his last two games, was held to one free throw attempt in the game, but still led the Jaguars with 22 points.
Augusta State returns to action today in the second game of the Augusta State Holiday Classic against Belmont Abbey at 7:30 p.m.
Chris Gay covers sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at 868-1222 or cag112hotmail.com