Augusta State knocked out of tournament

CHARLOTTE - A different team. A different style. A different result.

A day after one of its highest-scoring games of the year, Augusta State had its lowest-scoring game of the season. Second-seed Winston-Salem State shut down the Jaguars offense and eliminated No. 6 seed Augusta from postseason play with a 65-48 win in the second round of the Division II Tournament at Brayboy Gymnasium.

``I've played junior college basketball. I've played Division I basketball at Illinois. I've played basketball at Augusta State. I thought this right here was the best team I've ever played on,'' Jaguars senior center Festus Hawkins said. ``All the players like each other. The coaches are in tune. It was a great environment.''

It was a different environment on Friday. Blaring horns, booming drums and thousands of Winston-Salem State fans welcomed the Jaguars to the court. A neutral game suddenly turned into a thunderous road contest.

The fact that the referees allowed a more physical style of play didn't help Augusta's case.

``Last game against Catawba, the refs called everything,'' Jaguars senior forward Reggie Rosier said. ``This game was a little more physical, which I thought caught our team off guard. Our team's not very physical, that's not our style of play.''

Winston-Salem State (25-4) dominated the Jaguars with its speed as the Rams scored 38 points in the paint and 28 points off turnovers. The Rams forced 23 Jaguars turnovers, out-rebounded Augusta 36-29 and took 29 more shots.

In the first half, Augusta (21-10) had minor problems with the Rams' full-court pressure and led 15-11 on two Hawkins free throws with 8:34 left before halftime.

Winston-Salem State tied the Jaguars twice and then took its first lead of the game at 23-21 on a Corey Thompson bomb three minutes before halftime. On a feed from Gary Boodnikoff, Hawkins responded with a dunk.

But the Rams controlled the final three minutes of the first half, went on a 9-0 run and took a 32-23 halftime lead. In that span, Hawkins picked up his second foul, and a minute later, a clean steal by Chris Harriman turned into a foul on the Australian guard.

``We had turned the ball over too much, and they had run us out of our offense, but I still thought we were playing well,'' Augusta coach Gary Tuell said. ``I thought Chris had a pretty clean pick, and I had a pretty good view of it. But some people didn't agree with me.''

Seconds later, Thompson charged into Boodnikoff as he scored a layup, and Boodnikoff was called for the foul. One official stalked a livid Tuell even as the Augusta coach walked away from him. At the end of the bench, Tuell kneeled, slammed his playbook down and was assessed a technical.

Augusta had a chance to trim a seven-point deficit just before the break. But T.J. Ott's three-point attempt sailed long. Kevin Henry raced down the court and beat the buzzer with a fast-break layup. In three minutes, the momentum swung 180 degrees.

``That last shot hurt us,'' Tuell said.

Five minutes into the second half, an Ott layup pulled the Jaguars to 34-29. Kamal Oliver responded with a 3-pointer. Then Rosier made one free throw to cut the lead to seven.

But Winston-Salem State took control as it reeled off 12 unanswered points. Centellis Tucker drained back-to-back threes to cap the Rams run. Augusta's season was over at 49-30 with 10:11 remaining.

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