|Augusta State Advances To Third Straight Elite Eight|
|Madgen tallies 28, Brathwaite registers 25 as Jags claim third consecutive NCAA Regional title|
|Web Posted 3/16/10|
Ga. - Augusta State senior guard Ben Madgen tallied a game-high 28 points and senior forward Fred Brathwaite registered 25 points and a game-high seven rebounds as the Jaguars held off Montevallo to claim a 79-71 victory Tuesday night in the championship game of the 2010 NCAA Southeast Regional in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
With the win, the No. 4 Jaguars captured their third consecutive NCAA Regional title and advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the third straight season. The victory -- ASU’s 31st consecutive home win -- lifted the Jags to 29-3 on the year. Montevallo, playing in the Southeast Region for the first time after reaching the South Region championship game four times, closed their season with a 25-8 record.
The victory improved ASU to 14-7 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including 13-3 under sixth-year head coach Dip Metress. The Jags closed out their 2009-10 home schedule with an 18-0 home record and became the first team in school history to go undefeated at home. ASU’s senior class of Madgen, Daniel Dixon, Brathwaite, Greg Hire and Alex Smith posted a 57-4 home record during their careers. The win -- the Jags’ ninth straight in NCAA Regional play -- also avenged an 81-77 loss to the Falcons 10 days ago in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament semifinals.
ASU will face Northeast Regional champion Bentley in the National Quarterfinals of the Elite Eight at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., on March 24 at 8:30 p.m.
ASU hit eight of its first 13 shots from the field to open the game. A Travis Keels’ layup put the Jaguars up 21-12 with 11:00 to play. Brathwaite then hit a pair of free throws, followed by a Madgen jumper to boost that lead to 25-13 with 8:33 left in the first half.
The lead grew to 13 twice, the largest margin of the half. Greg Hire hit a pair of free throws with 4:06 to play for the first 13-point margin. UM answered with a Ronald Severtsgaard free throw but ASU’s Alex Smith hit one of two from the line to keep the margin at 13.
Montevallo’s Tauras Dortch hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead down to nine, but Severtsgaard traveled on the ensuing inbounds play, giving ASU the ball with 4.8 seconds remaining. Madgen came off two screens to catch the inbounds at the top of the key, where he was fouled in the act of taking a 3-pointer by Mark Plaza. With zeros on the scoreboard, Madgen hit all three free throws that gave ASU a 41-30 halftime lead.
The Jaguar lead grew to as many as 14 in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Greg Hire, who hit all three of his field goal attempts, drained a 14-footer from the elbow that made the lead 47-33. UM cut its deficit to 10 following a Plaza layup, but ASU responded with a Brathwaite jumper at the 14:32 mark that left ASU out in front 53-39. But that would be the last ASU field goal for nearly eight minutes as Montevallo rallied.
The Falcons went on a 12-1 run over the next six minutes that cut the lead down to three. Plaza scored seven straight points for the Falcons, all on driving layups. He was fouled on the final drive and converted the 3-point play with 10:05 left to pull within six. Freddy Little capped the run with a driving layup of his own followed by a Demarcus Richard free throw that brought the ASU margin to three with over eight minutes to go.
Down 54-51, Montevallo surrendered two free throws to Madgen before a Freddy Little layup cut the lead back to three with 7:21 to play. Madgen responded for the Jaguars with two free throws and a jumper at the 6:34 mark that pushed the lead back to seven, but Little drained a trey and Plaza drove in for another layup to pull the Falcons within 60-58 at the 4:45 mark.
ASU senior point guard Daniel Dixon stopped the bleeding and turned the momentum with a 3-pointer from the left elbow on ASU’s next possession, bringing the 2,131 fans in attendance back to their feet. Little answered with a driving layup, bending around an ASU defender in the air to bank his shot off the glass. That bucket brought the Falcons within 63-60, but they would get no closer as the Jaguars scored seven straight points, including a thunderous put-back dunk from Brathwaite, that left the score 70-60 with 1:13 to play.
Forced to foul, UM put Madgen on the line where he hit four straight over the final 48 seconds to seal the victory. Madgen hit all 14 of his free throw attempts in the game, scoring a game-high 28 points with five rebounds and two assists.
Brathwaite was named the regional’s Most Outstanding Player with his 25-point performance, connecting on 11-of-13 shots from the field. The senior guard/forward from Columbus, Ga., also hit his only 3-point attempt and led the team with seven rebounds. He eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau in his career with a 17-foot jumper at the 14:32 mark of the second half. Alex Smith added nine points for ASU while Hire had eight and Dixon seven with nine assists. The Jaguars shot 57 percent from the floor in the game, including 65 percent (13-of-20) in the second half alone. ASU was also 76 percent from the line and held a 26-19 rebounding advantage.
Little led the Falcons with 23 points as he hit five-of-eight 3-pointers. Plaza added 20 and a team-high seven assists while Gerald January scored nine with a team-best six rebounds. UM shot even better than ASU, hitting 58 percent (28-48) in the game and 65 percent in the second half. Montevallo did have 13 turnovers to only 10 for Augusta State. (Box Score) (Photos)
FRED BRATHWAITE, AUGUSTA STATE, MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER
BEN MADGEN, AUGUSTA STATE
Freddy Little, Montevallo
Mark Plaza, Montevallo
Kevis Cornwell, Anderson
Montevallo Head Coach Danny Young
“I thought our kids played really hard and they battled all the way down the stretch. The difference for us is that we had a hard time getting to the foul line. The difference in the scores was the foul shots.”
(On attacking the basket) “That was our game plan again was to attack the basket and we didn’t do a very good job at it.”
(On switching Freddy in the defense) “I needed to get Plaza on Madgen and try not to wear him out defensively.”
(On Augusta State) “They played really well, and it is hard to beat them at home.”
Augusta State Head Coach Dip Metress
“My seniors are the reason why we are going back to Massachusetts. I am glad that they had the chance to win this last game on their home floor.”
(On the good plays the seniors made) “Very difficult to have lead and have a team come back and cut it and still keep your composure they did a great job in going to the next play and encouraging each other.”
Augusta State’s Daniel Dixon
“Thank God for allowing us to be here and to have this opportunity. It means a lot to us seniors; we did not want to lose this last game at home.”
(On guarding Freddy little) “It takes a lot of energy to guard him because all he does is come off the screens. I credit my team; they helped me out so much when I got caught up in the screens.”
Augusta State’s Ben Madgen
(On winning the NCAA Regional three times in four years) “We are pretty lucky. We work very hard in the off season preparing, and after winning our first regional we are still hungry to win the next one. It is really good to share this with the rest of these guys and coach.”
(On going back to Springfield) “We have some unfinished business. We want to win if all, but we are just going to take it one game at a time.”
Augusta State’s Greg Hire
(On the score being 52-50) “I just had confidence in guys on the floor. I was waiting for Daniel to hit it and incredible shot. You just have confidence in group you have on the floor.”
(On last home game win) “We have the best community support. They were loud the entire game and they pump you back up. It is hard to get down cause they get you right back up.”
Augusta State’s Fred Brathwaite
(On determination) I got a little down on myself, I had three turnover and my teammates told me to keep playing hard and just stick with it. I told myself I was not going to let us lose.
Augusta State’s Alex Smith
(On going to Springfield and winning regional) “It’s a new experience for me. I think that it is an absolute blessing that I was able to come to this program and do great things. I am really happy to be a part of this team.”