|Clutch Shot Lifts Bentley Past Jaguars|
|Despite Smith's effort, No. 4 ASU concludes season with 29-4 mark|
|Web Posted 3/24/10|
Mass. - Bentley’s Jason Brandt connected on a go-ahead 3-pointer with 17 seconds left and the
Falcons upset No. 4 Augusta State 67-64 Wednesday night in a thriller at the National Quarterfinals of the Elite
Eight at the MassMutual Center.
With the victory, the Falcons (26-6) advanced to face Cal Poly Pomona in Thursday’s 8:30 p.m., Final Four contest. The Jaguars, making a school-record third consecutive appearance at the Elite Eight, saw their season end at 29- 4. The 2009-10 season marked the third straight year under head coach Dip Metress in which ASU posted 27 or more victories.
The contest proved to be the final appearance in an ASU uniform for the senior class of responsible for 5,257 career points along with 110 victories, three consecutive NCAA Regional titles and three Peach Belt Conference Championships in a four-year span.
Senior Alex Smith registered 21 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Ben Madgen, who wrapped his decorated career with 2,306 points, scored 13 and senior Fred Brathwaite turned in 12 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Franck Ndongo booked his first double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Bentley’s Jason Westrol, the National Player Of The Year, turned in a game-high 23 points and Brian Tracey had 19 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s always tough to lose here,” Metress said. “This program has come a long way because of the senior class. The kids are very upset right now.”
ASU and Bentley were tied at 26-26 at halftime and found themselves tied again with 49 seconds to play when Dixon picked up a loose ball near the 3-point line and drained a trey that tied the score at 62-62.
Brandt answered with a trey of his own as the Falcons kept their national championship dream alive.
Bentley shot 43.9 percent (25-of-57) from the field and got 23 points from Westrol. Brian Tracey pumped in 19 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
“This was a tough game,” Bentley head coach Jay Lawson said. “We won because we were able to get in position and help defend every attack. That is how we play, and we are usually successful when we play that way.”
ASU shot a season-low 35.8 percent (24-of-67) from the floor and connected on just 4-of-21 3-point attempts while Bentley posted a 43.9 percent (25-of-57) shooting effort.
The Jags, who ranked second in the nation in rebounding margin entering the Elite Eight, dominated the boards with a 53-28 advantage.
“We hurt ourselves too much tonight,” Metress said. “We did not play as well as we would have liked to.” (Box)