West Georgia. Kennesaw State. And now USC Upstate.
Giant killers Augusta State slayed yet another nationally-ranked opponent Wednesday night at Christenberry Fieldhouse. This time, the eighth-ranked Spartans fell victim.
The Jaguars shot 75 percent in the second half and handed USC Upstate its first Peach Belt Conference loss, an 83-70 defeat.
Karim Telfer scored a career-high 30 on 6-for-7 shooting from the field and 16-for-17 shooting from the foul line. Augusta State improved to 11-9 overall, 4-5 in the conference and 8-1 at home.
"It doesn't mean much to us; we don't look at rankings," Telfer said. "When teams come in here, we've got to protect our house."
USC Upstate coach Eddie Payne didn't stick around to see his team's eight-game winning streak come to a halt. He got ejected with 29 seconds remaining.
The Spartans led by as many as 14 in the first half, but couldn't hold the lead. USC Upstate shot just 37 percent as it suffered its first loss since Nov. 16.
"I'm proud of our guys," Augusta State coach Dip Metress said. "We could've cracked. We had a lot of holes in the ship. But we showed a lot of guts, a lot of courage.
Augusta State ended the first half on an 11-0 run, capped by a Tyrekus Bowman steal and two-hand dunk at the buzzer. USC Upstate led 28-25 at the break,
The Jaguars found a glaring weakness in USC Upstate's interior defense and exposed it. Augusta State got easy baskets off a steady stream of layups, which eventually helped open up the team's perimeter game.
Telfer made a pair of 3-pointers and Cameron Tovey and Larry Diamond each made a trey as Augusta State went on a 23-4 run late in the second half. Roberto Aufiero capped the spurt with a layup. The Jaguars led 65-52 with 4:25 remaining.
• In women's action, Augusta State held USC Upstate to 25 percent shooting and held off a furious rally for a 60-54 victory.
Latoya Renwrick scored a team-high 17 points with nine rebounds as the Lady Jaguars improved to 11-8 overall, 5-4 conference. But the Lady Jaguars left the court with concern.
Eva Vodrazkova, the team's leading scorer, exited the game with a knee injury six minutes into the game. The junior forward scored 35 points with nine blocks in two road games last week.
Coach Greg Wilson said Vodrazkova didn't injure her anterior cruciate ligament, but the team will know more after X-rays today.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or email@example.com.
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