|Augusta State Advances To Elite Eight, 89-72|
|Bowman named MOP, leads Jags to first National Finals with 27 points|
|Web Posted 3/18/08|
|(View PDF Release)|
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Augusta State Jaguars realized a dream on Tuesday night as they exploded for 47 second-half points on the way to an 89-72 win over upstart Clayton State in the championship game of the 2008 NCAA South Atlantic Regional Tournament. With the historic win, the Jaguars will advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. Tyrekus ‘AJ’ Bowman was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after scoring a game-high 27 points.
Bowman, who averaged 27.3 ppg. in the three regional games, hit eight of 15 shots from the floor and 10 of 11 free throws. The senior, playing in his final game at Christenberry Fieldhouse, also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Ben Madgen hit three of six 3-pointers for 24 points while Daniel Dixon added 10. The Jaguars (25-6) shot 65 percent (17-26) from the floor in the second half and 54 percent for the game.
Clayton State (19-15) saw its remarkable postseason run, that began with a surprise PBC Tournament Championship, come to an end. The Lakers were led by Bernard Fields who scored 18 points of seven of 10 shooting, including four of six 3-pointers. Tracy Williams added 14 points and six assists while Will Lewis scored 13 and Jerome Boyd 11. The Lakers, making their first appearance ever in the regional final game, and only their second NCAA tournament appearance overall, shot 48 percent from the field overall after hitting 58 percent in the first half.
The good shooting by the Lakers was evident in the first half. Augusta State opened the game with a 14-5 lead before Clayton State began to close the gap. The Lakers hit 12 of their next 14 shots from the floor, including 10 in a row as they stormed back to lead by eight with 6:10 left. Fields was especially effective during the run, hitting back-to-back three pointers and a jumper as Clayton State outscored Augusta State 25-8 over the nine-minute span.
But the Jaguars responded with a 14-6 run of their own that left the game tied with 1:30 to go in the first. Steve Smith provided the spark with a trey. Madgen scored 10 of the Jaguars’ next 14 points, including seven in a row. His 3-pointer with 1:07 left gave ASU their first lead in over 11 minutes. A Bowman three pushed that up to five and ASU led 42-37 at the break.
The second half was not so dramatic as the Jaguars began to pull away. Bowman dunked on a breakaway, then hit a layup on ASU’s next possession to open up an 11-point lead with 15:28 to play. Clayton State did its best to keep up as a Williams’ 3-pointer cut the lead to eight at the 13:30 mark and a Boyd layup cut it to nine with 10:58 to play, but that would be as close as the Lakers would get. ASU rattled off the next eight straight points, six coming on a pair of Dixon three-pointers, to take a commanding 17-point lead.
Clayton State made one last attempt to get back in the game with a 7-0 run capped with a Michael Sloan jumper that again cut the lead to nine with 6:36 to play, but the Jaguars put the game away with a 14-5 run over the last five minutes to build an 18-point lead, their largest of the game, with 1:18 to play.
With the win, ASU improved to 25-6 overall, the second most wins in school history, and finished 14-1 on the season on its home floor. The Jags also extended their home winning streak to eight games.
ASU moves on to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight which begins with the national quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 26 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. (PHOTOS)
No. 2 Augusta State d. No. 8 Clayton State 89-72 (BOX SCORE)
Augusta State Head Coach Dip Metress:
“This is a great feeling, we are going to the Elite Eight, and two weeks ago you probably could have written us off a little bit.”
“Our senior leadership helped keep us together.”
“Defensively we were solid, but we are going to the Elite Eight, and that’s something I’ve never done.”
“We are heading to a state I’ve never been too, but I am going to find out a lot about it soon!”
“We wanted to make it to this game, being able to just cut down the nets in your home arena is a great feeling.”
Augusta State’s Daniel Dixon:
“It has been a rocky season for me but my teammates were there to help me, telling me to keep trying. I talked to Coach and he told me he needed to me be a leader on the floor and I got the confidence in me and played my game and fed off of my teammates -- they really picked me up.”
Augusta State’s Garret Siler:
“Coach kept telling me to play strong and smart, so I did.”
(On fouling out) “In order for us to win the game you have to give it your all and that’s what I did.”
Augusta State’s Tyrekus Bowman:
(What does this mean to you) “This means the world to me, I told you we would win, and now we are going to get another one to match it!!”
(On his heart condition) “I think I might need a new (heart) one after tonight. At the beginning of the season, things were tough but I just kept my head up.”
(On being named Most Outstanding Player) “In my opinion, I think that Dee Howard deserves the award.”
“I don’t care about any dunk contest. I am going to the Elite Eight to win a national championship.”
Augusta State’s Ben Madgen:
“Its an amazing feeling, the emotion the crowd everything!”
“We have worked so hard for this the past two years, we all had the coming goal of making it to the Elite Eight.”
Augusta State’s Demetrius Howard:
“Coach told us to step it up, so we did.”