For 20 minutes Wednesday night, Augusta State didn't resemble itself.
It almost looked like UNC Pembroke and Augusta State had changed places. But when all was said and done, a worst-to-first season had been accomplished.
Kavossy Franklin scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half and the Jaguars came back to defeat the Braves 80-61 at the athletic complex and capture their first Peach Belt North Division title.
"It hasn't set in yet," Augusta State junior guard Oliver Ottley said. "To have a winning season and have the fan support, it makes me happy."
Augusta State (17-8, 13-2 PBAC) will play its final regular-season game at Georgia College & State, the South Division champion, on Monday at 7:30 p.m., for the regular-season title.
Franklin came out of halftime scorching as he sparked an 11-2 Jaguar run. He gave Augusta State its first lead of the game at 38-35 on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 14:59 remaining.
UNC Pembroke (3-21, 1-13) regained the lead at 42-40 on a Brad Harris 10-footer. But Franklin again had the answer.
The senior guard drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to put the Jaguars back on top 43-42, giving Augusta State a lead it would not relinquish.
After Theotis Gibson hit a layup to cut the lead to 54-51, the Jaguars went on a 14-0 run in a 4:23 span. Ottley capped the run with a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Augusta State a 68-51 lead with 4:46 remaining.
Demetric Taylor put the game away with a three-point play that gave the Jaguars a 73-57 lead with 2:35 left in the game.
"In the first half, we played down to their level," Franklin said. "We didn't have any fun. In the second half, I said I was going to play like one of top guards in the league. I didn't want to lose this game."
The Jaguars missed their first 10 shots of the game and fell behind 13-1.
T.J. Ott knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner to cut the Braves' lead to 15-8 with 11:15 left in the first half.
Gibson converted a three-point play to push UNC Pembroke's lead back up to 11. But Jayme Johnson and Gary Boodnikoff made a pair of 3s to bring the Jaguars within 22-19 with 7:25 left in the first half.
Mike Lowery made a slam dunk to give the Braves a 33-25 lead with 24 seconds left in the half. Ottley hit a driving lay-in to cut UNC Pembroke's lead to 33-27 at the half.
In the women's game, Britton Thomas and Katie Lawrence combined for 49 points to give coach Lowell Barnhart a win in his final home game at Augusta State.
The Lady Jaguars came back from a 14-point, first-half deficit and routed UNC Pembroke 98-82.
"We tried to go out and win it for him," Lawrence said of her coach's home finale. "We knew it meant a lot for him."
UNC Pembroke's Ginnell Curtis hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 55-all.
But Thomas and Lawrence combined for 16 points during a 19-2 Augusta State run that put the Lady Jaguars up 74-57 with 8:47 left in the game.
In the first half, Augusta State fell down 20-6. But on the strength of 17-of-21 shooting from the free-throw line, the Lady Jaguars got back in the game.
Lawrence made a layup with 46 seconds left in the half to give Augusta State its first lead of the game at 43-41. Thomas tacked on two free throws to give the Lady Jaguars a 45-41 halftime lead.
"When we got out and started pushing the ball down the court, we started to get easy baskets," Lawrence said.
Thomas led the Lady Jaguars with a team-high 25 points, while Lawrence and Tamiko Benton had a pair of double-doubles. Lawrence had 24 points with 11 rebounds, while Benton had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
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