CHARLOTTE - A different team. A different style. A different result.
A day after one of its highest-scoring games of the year, Augusta State had its lowest-scoring game of the season. Second-seed Winston-Salem State shut down the Jaguars offense and eliminated No. 6 seed Augusta from postseason play with a 65-48 win in the second round of the Division II Tournament at Brayboy Gymnasium.
"I've played junior college basketball. I've played Division I basketball at Illinois. I've played basketball at Augusta State. I thought this right here was the best team I've ever played on," Jaguars senior center Festus Hawkins said. "All the players like each other. The coaches are in tune. It was a great environment."
It was a different environment on Friday. Blaring horns, booming drums and thousands of Winston-Salem State fans welcomed the Jaguars to the court. A neutral game suddenly turned into a thunderous road contest.
The fact that the referees allowed a more physical style of play didn't help Augusta's case.
"Last game against Catawba, the refs called everything," Jaguars senior forward Reggie Rosier said. "This game was a little more physical, which I thought caught our team off guard. Our team's not very physical, that's not our style of play."
Winston-Salem State (25-4) dominated the Jaguars with its speed as the Rams scored 38 points in the paint and 28 points off turnovers. The Rams forced 23 Jaguars turnovers, out-rebounded Augusta 36-29 and took 29 more shots.
In the first half, Augusta (21-10) had minor problems with the Rams' full-court pressure and led 15-11 on two Hawkins free throws with 8:34 left before halftime.
Winston-Salem State tied the Jaguars twice and then took its first lead of the game at 23-21 on a Corey Thompson bomb three minutes before halftime. On a feed from Gary Boodnikoff, Hawkins responded with a dunk.
But the Rams controlled the final three minutes of the first half, went on a 9-0 run and took a 32-23 halftime lead. In that span, Hawkins picked up his second foul, and a minute later, a clean steal by Chris Harriman turned into a foul on the Australian guard.
"We had turned the ball over too much, and they had run us out of our offense, but I still thought we were playing well," Augusta coach Gary Tuell said. "I thought Chris had a pretty clean pick, and I had a pretty good view of it. But some people didn't agree with me."
Seconds later, Thompson charged into Boodnikoff as he scored a layup, and Boodnikoff was called for the foul. One official stalked a livid Tuell even as the Augusta coach walked away from him. At the end of the bench, Tuell kneeled, slammed his playbook down and was assessed a technical.
Augusta had a chance to trim a seven-point deficit just before the break. But T.J. Ott's three-point attempt sailed long. Kevin Henry raced down the court and beat the buzzer with a fast-break layup. In three minutes, the momentum swung 180 degrees.
"That last shot hurt us," Tuell said.
Five minutes into the second half, an Ott layup pulled the Jaguars to 34-29. Kamal Oliver responded with a 3-pointer. Then Rosier made one free throw to cut the lead to seven.
But Winston-Salem State took control as it reeled off 12 unanswered points. Centellis Tucker drained back-to-back threes to cap the Rams run. Augusta's season was over at 49-30 with 10:11 remaining.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222.
© 2017. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us