ASU Shoots Down No. 2 Pacers

ASU Shoots Down No. 2 Pacers

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta State junior guard Ben Madgen poured in a career-high 33 points to pace the No. 7 Jaguars to an 87-76 Peach Belt Conference victory over second-ranked USC Aiken Monday night in Christenberry Fieldhouse.

In front of a crowd of 3,109 – the second-largest in CFH history -- ASU defeated the highest-ranked opponent in school history and improved to 14-5 vs. nationally-ranked opponents in its five seasons under head coach Dip Metress. The contest – the 50th meeting between the two rivals -- marked the first top-10 matchup between conference schools in league history.

The win lifted ASU to 8-2 overall, to 2-1 in the PBC and to 34-16 all-time vs. the Pacers. USCA dropped to 7-3 overall and to 2-1 in the league and suffered its third loss in four games after the opening the season with six straight wins.

The Jags bounced back from a sub-par shooting effort at Clayton State with one of its best of the season. ASU shot 60.0 percent for the game, including 66.7 percent in the second half, and limited the Pacers to just 36.4 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.

Junior forward Fred Brathwaite posted a career-best effort as well, tallying 19 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Senior center Garret Siler netted 10 points, five rebounds and a season-high five blocks.

Pacer junior guard Javonte Clanton booked 24 points, while Cordaryl Ballard registered 16 points and four assists. Senior All-American Chris Commons finished with 15 points on 7-of-16 shooting.

ASU jumped out to a 20-9 lead and led by as many as 13 after a pair of Siler free throws at the 6:48 mark of the first half. The Pacers got as close as six on a Seth Leonard layup with 1:22 remaining before the Jags got free throws from Jason Killeen and Ben Madgen just before the half.

A Madgen 3-pointer four minutes into the second half put ASU ahead 54-39. The Jags maintained a double-digit edge until the Pacers strung together a 9-0 spurt over a stretch of 3:06, closing to within 65-60 on a trey from Clanton with 7:19 remaining.

ASU answered with seven straight points, including a trey from senior point guard Steve Smith, and pushed its advantage back to 72-60 on a pair of Brathwaite free throws with 5:26 to go.

The Pacers never got closer than nine the rest of the way, and two Madgen free throws gave the Jags their largest lead of the game at 84-68 with 1:36 left.

ASU hosts UNC Pembroke in the middle game of a three-game homestand on Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Christenberry Fieldhouse.

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