|Winona State Tops ASU For National Title, 87-76|
|Bowman sets NCAA Championship Game record, joins Siler on All-Tournament team|
|Web Posted 3/29/08|
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- – Augusta State’s magical run to the National Championship came up just short on Saturday afternoon as the Jaguars fell to Winona State 87-76 in the final game of the Elite Eight. The No. 3 Warriors claimed their second national championship in three years after trailing by as many as 15 in the first half and by 12 at halftime. With the loss, ASU’s most successful season in school history comes to an end with a 27-7 record while Winona State, who set an NCAA single-season wins record, finishes 38-1.
After a back-and-forth opening to the game, the 10th-ranked Jaguars took control of the first half with a 10-0 run with under six minutes to go. All-American forward Tyrekus ‘AJ’ Bowman was unstoppable in the half for ASU, connecting on 9-of-11 shots for 20 points. The senior from Tignall, Ga., scored eight of ASU’s 10 points during the first-half run while Ben Madgen added five more.
A layup from Winona’s David Johnson cut the lead to eight with 2:44 to play in the first, but the Jaguars responded with six straight points to open up a 16-point lead, their largest of the game. However, a Curtel Robinson free throw and a three-pointer from Quincy Henderson at the buzzer cut the lead to 12.
The second half was nearly an exact reversal of the first as Winona State began their comeback down 12 with 14:21 to play. The Warriors outscored the Jaguars 19-5 over the next six minutes, including holding ASU without a point for over four minutes. After shooting only 38% in the first half, the Warriors hit 50% of their shots from the field in the second half, finally taking a 65-63 lead with 7:40 to go.
Augusta State tied it again on a Bowman layup and were down only one with 5:13 to play when Winona put the game away with a 13-2 run over the next four minutes. Jonte Flowers seemingly could not miss for Winona as he scored eight straight points during that stretch, including back-to-back 3-pointers. Bowman, who picked up his fourth foul with 12:53 to play, was limited to 14 minutes in the second half.
The Warriors outrebounded ASU 39-30 and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds which led to 21 second-chance points. Winona also forced 15 ASU turnovers with 10 steals while turning the ball over only seven times.
Bowman set an NCAA Championship Game record for field goal percentage by hitting 12-of-15 shots to finish with 26 points. Madgen added 20 points and seven rebounds while Siler had 20 points, five rebounds and five blocks. Senior guard Demetrius Howard did not score, but led ASU with 10 rebounds.
Flowers, who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player, scored 30 for Winona State. John Smith, the two-time NABC Player of the Year, added 18 as he went 4-for-4 from three-point range. Henderson finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Bowman and Siler were both named to the All-Tournament team along with Flowers and Smith from Winona State. The game was the last for five Augusta State seniors, including Bowman and Howard along with Luke Tambon, Jamie Quarles and Etsho Ilunga.
With 27 wins in 2007-08, the Jaguars set a new school record by combining for 51 wins the last two seasons. In addition, ASU’s senior class racked up an 85-38 record over the last four seasons and became the second-winningest senior class in school history.
Bowman concluded his outstanding career with 1,827 points, the second-most in school history behind Derek Stewart (1,895) and the second-most in Peach Belt Conference history behind only Carlton Farr of Francis Marion (1,863 points from 1990-95).
With his 20 point-effort vs. the Warriors, Madgen went over the 1,000-point mark in only his 64th career game for ASU. He currently stands at 1,012 points, while Siler surpassed the milestone in Thursday’s national semifinal win over Alaska-Anchorage with 17 points and currently stands at 1,033 points. (BOX SCORE)
ASU Head Coach Dip Metress
“We accomplished things out program has never accomplished before. All credit needs to go to Winona. Their can’t be anything negative coming out of our mouths.”
“What we did transformed our program. There’s a lot of enthusiasm back in Augusta and we’ll build on that. I wish we had some plays back tonight, but we won’t hang our heads.”
“Flowers was phenomenal, we had a hard time guarding him.”
(On Bowman’s fourth foul) “That was the turning point. It hurt us, obviously.”
ASU’s Tyrekus ‘AJ’ Bowman
“This is not the way I wanted to go out, but I can’t hang my head. Hopefully, I’ll be back here next year watching these guys go again.”
(On guarding Flowers): “Big time players step up in big time games. You’ve got to give him credit for stepping up.”
ASU’s Ben Madgen
“This has been a great experience for the team. Winona has been here before and their experience helped them. We knew they would make a run, we just wanted to withstand it. But it seemed that every shot that was going up was going in.”