Jags Fall In Semifinals

Jags Fall In Semifinals

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Montevallo used a 12-0 run early in the second half to erase a double-digit deficit and register a 63-59 victory over Augusta State in the semifinals of the Peach Belt Conference Championships at Frank G. Lumpkin Center.

The Jaguars, the East Division's No. 2 seed in the tournament and the eighth-ranked team in the most recent NCAA Southeast Region poll, fell to 17-11 overall and now must wait to learn of its postseason fate.

Montevallo, the top seed in the West Division, improved to 23-7 overall and will face the USC Aiken/Columbus State winner in the title game at 4:30 p.m., Sunday. The winner earns the PBC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Antoine Davis sparked Montevallo with game highs in points (19) and rebounds (11), while Drico Hightower had 11 points and nine rebounds and D.J. Rivera added 11 points.

The Jags, who played much of the second half in foul trouble, placed four players in double figures led by senior guard Tye Beal's 15 points. Backcourt mate and fellow senior O'Neal Armstrong netted 12 points, while junior Travis Keels and freshman reserve D'Angelo Boyce had 10 each. Harold Doby led ASU in rebounds with eight. Both Doby and Beal fouled out, and Wright-Nelson finished the game with four fouls.

Tied at 16-all with 7:37 left in the first half, ASU used a 15-0 run to take a 31-16 advantage with 4:08 remaining. During the scoring spree, Beal netted three treys, including one four-point play, while Armstrong drilled a three and Keels made a two-pointer.

Montevallo followed its four-minute scoring drought with a three from Rivera and a fast break layup by Davis to cut the lead to 31-21 at the 3:13 mark.

The Jags' Wright-Nelson came back with a triple and a jumper to make it 36-21 at 2:18, but the Falcons ended the half with a basket underneath by Davis and a Jonas Brown layup to close their gap to 36-25.

Montevallo made its move following the intermission when it cut the ASU lead under double digits at 38-29 when Hightower scored with 18:38 left in the game.

ASU made it 45-34 on a Boyce trey at the 16:07 mark, but Montevallo responded with a 12-0 run to take a 46-45 lead at 11:11 on Brown's 3-pointer. The Falcons started the run with Marvin Fitzgerald's two free throws, Davis added a three-point play and Hightower and DeMarcus Catchings each had a basket.

After two more ties and two lead changes, Montevallo eased out to a five-point lead at 58-53 on a Martin Fitzgerald basket. The Jags cut it to 58-55 on Armstrong's two free throws at 1:39, but Rivera went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 25.5 seconds to secure the win.

For the game, Montevallo connected on 24-of-59 field goals for 40.7 percent, including 2-of-15 threes for 13.3 percent. The Falcons sank 13-of-26 free throws for 50 percent.

The Jags shot 45.7 percent for the game, but just 28.0 percent (7-of-25) after they matched their season high in the first half at 66.7 percent (14-of-21). ASU connected on 8-of-14 3-point attempts (57.1 percent).

The Falcons dominated the glass to the tune of 44-25, including 23 offensive rebounds.
 NOTES … The Jags and Falcons were meeting for the third consecutive season in the PBC Tournament Semifinals … ASU was making its fourth straight appearance in the semifinals and its 21st appearance in the PBC Tournament overall … The loss dropped the Jags to 25-17 all-time in the tournament, including 6-7 in the semifinals … The Jags also slipped to 26-11 in the postseason under head coach Dip Metress and to 11-6 under Metress in the conference tournament … ASU is now 8-2 in the tourney since 2009 … Senior guard Tye Beal scored in double figures for the ninth time this season, and the third time in the last five games.
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