Augusta State's magic carpet ride through the Peach Belt Athletic Conference came to a halt on Monday night.
Francis Marion shot 63 percent from the floor and pulled the rug out from under the Jaguars 71-63 at the Augusta State Athletic Complex.
"They shot the ball well. They deserved to win," Augusta State coach Gary Tuell said. "Francis Marion was the preseason pick to win the conference. They're an excellent team."
Francis Marion (11-9, 4-6 PBAC), which shot 75 percent from three-point range, took its first lead of the game on a Caslyn Adams 3-pointer from the right corner with 8:27 left in the first half.
After Demetric Taylor hit a driving layup to give the Jaguars (12-7, 8-1 PBAC) a 33-30 lead with 2:25 left in the half, Francis Marion's Billy Spraul and Yaron Lahat nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Patriots a 36-33 lead.
With the half winding down, Lahat rebounded his own miss and made an inside lay-in to give Francis Marion a 38-35 lead with :01 left in the half.
T.J. Ott made two free throws to cut the Patriots' lead to 53-52 with 6:53 left in the game. But the Tucker brothers, Wade and Will, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to stretch the lead to 59-52.
Augusta's Gary Boodnikoff hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to cut the lead to 59-55, but Adams knocked down another three to give the Patriots a 62-55 lead with 2:24 remaining.
From there, Francis Marion made 9-of-11 from the free-throw line to put the game out of reach.
The Jaguars shot 30 percent in the second half and were only 21-of-50 from the floor (42 percent) for the game.
"When we needed to make baskets, we just didn't take good shots," Tuell said. "We were a step behind tonight. Our execution was terrible. We're just a little stale right now."
Kavossy Franklin and Ott led Augusta State with 14 points each.
In the women's game, Augusta State gave No. 2 Francis Marion all it could handle, but the Lady Patriots ended the game on an 10-2 run and defeated the Lady Jaguars 67-59.
"I thought our girls played really well tonight," Augusta State coach Lowell Barnhart said. "It's hard to overcome when they shoot 21 more free throws. We just didn't catch a break."
Augusta State (8-11, 3-6) held Francis Marion (19-1, 10-0) to just 32 percent shooting from the floor (17-of-54), but the Lady Patriots made up for it on the free-throw line. Francis Marion was 31-of-34 from the line to Augusta State's 9-of-13 free-throw shooting.
Aimee Haygood tied the game at 57-all with a 15-foot leaner with 3:56 left in the game. Katie Lawrence had a chance to give Augusta the lead, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:53 remaining.
Anna Kolbinsky made a layup to give Francis Marion a 59-57 lead with 1:35 remaining. After Augusta's Britton Thomas missed a 15-foot jumper, Jennifer Brabsob tacked on two more free throws to push the lead to 61-57. The Lady Patriots made four free throws in the final 44 seconds to seal the game.
The Lady Jaguars fell down 14-0 to start the game, but Augusta State went on a 23-12 run, capped by Tamiko Benton's layup, to cut the lead 26-23 with 3:54 left in the first half.
Chris Gay covers sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at cag112hotmail.com