By Chris Gay
Staff Writer - Augusta Chronicle
With a team defensive effort, Augusta State finally made coach Gary Tuell smile this season.
The Jaguars held Clayton State to 34 percent shooting and defeated the Lakers 65-54 in their conference opener at the ASU Athletic Complex on Wednesday night.
In earlier action, the Lady Jaguars knocked off the Lady Lakers 81-64.
"I was happy,'' Tuell said. "I thought our guys really competed and played hard. For the first time in a long time, I was happy with them.''
With the Jaguars (6-3, 1-0) leading 19-16 in the first half, Marcus Gradney got the hot hand. The junior forward made three straight 3-pointers during an 18-8 run as Augusta State went into halftime with a 37-24 lead.
Jayme Johnson capped a 9-0 run in the second half with a layup and 3-pointer as the Jaguars stormed to a 48-29 lead with 13:08 remaining.
But Clayton State's full-court press finally caught up to the Jaguars. The Lakers forced six turnovers in a 4:53 span and pulled within 48-43 with 8:31 remaining.
T.J. Ott, though, sealed the win with a pair of layups that gave Augusta State a 58-47 lead with 2:03 left in the game.
``We just kept our composure,'' Gradney said. ``They were trying to put us in their game, and we were beating them playing our game.''
Gradney led the team with 18 points, while Festus Hawkins added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
In the women's contest, Sabrina Jones provided a spark off the bench, scoring a game-high 18 points, along with five rebounds and two blocks to help lead the Lady Jaguars (7-3, 1-0) to the win. However, the sophomore forward sprained her right ankle with 7:01 remaining and she is not expected to play the next two games.
``Sabrina's game is so up-tempo,'' Lady Jaguars coach Greg Wilson said. ``When we're running, Sabrina's phenomenal. I thought this was her best game in a blue-and-white uniform.''
Holding a six-point halftime lead, Augusta State's defense clamped down as the Lady Jaguars went on a 17-6 run in the first 6:42 of the half and took a 59-42 lead. For the game, Augusta State had 16 steals and forced 24 turnovers.
``I thought we overwhelmed them a little bit with our athleticism,'' Wilson said. ``We smelled blood from the very beginning.''
Sharon Taylor scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Donna Hanson went 4-of-4 from three-point range for 12 points. Freshman Ernesia Wideman, who got her first collegiate start at point guard with senior Amy Frantz nursing an ankle injury, scored five points and had two steals.
March 27, 2001 Hawkins and Boodnikoff Named to the NABC All-Region Team
March 11, 2001 Jaguars look to next season
March 10, 2001 Magical Season Comes to an End for Jaguars
March 10, 2001 Augusta State knocked out of tournament
March 10, 2001 Rams' stifling 'D' steamrolls Jaguars
March 9, 2001 Jaguars are a 'can do' team
March 9, 2001 Jaguars top Catawba College 96-84
March 8, 2001 Jaguars ready to take on Catawba
March 7, 2001 Augusta State coach ready for challenge
March 5, 2001 Augusta State Men’s Basketball Itinerary
March 5, 2001 Augusta State earns 6th seed
March 3, 2001 Jaguars reign in Peach Belt
March 3, 2001 Augusta State Wins Peach Belt Tournament Title
March 2, 2001 ASU Defeats USC Aiken in PBC Semifinals
March 1, 2001 Jaguars top Clayton State
February 24, 2001 ASU Wraps North Division Top-Seed With 83-65 Win Over Francis Marion
February 21, 2001 No. 22 Pirates Win 16th Straight, Defeat ASU 58-45
February 17, 2001 ASU Falls to Georgia College & State
February 15, 2001 ASU 89, Francis Marion 73
February 14, 2001 ASU Rolls Over Francis Marion 89-73
February 11, 2001 Jaguars celebrate homecoming with win
February 10, 2001 ASU Rolls Over North Florida 93-50
February 10, 2001 Jaguars face North Florida at home
February 7, 2001 ASU Moves Back Into First Place With 70-63 Win Over UNC Pembroke
February 3, 2001 Senators down Augusta State 68-60
February 1, 2001 Jaguars defeat Pacers 72-63
January 31, 2001 ASU Moves Back Into First Place With 72-63 Win Over USC Aiken
January 29, 2001 Records Fall as ASU Defeats Life University 108-87
January 24, 2001 Jaguars suffer tough setback vs. Kennesaw
January 20, 2001 TJ Ott Leads ASU to 61-47 Win over USC Spartanburg
January 18, 2001 Pacers edge Jaguars 53-51
January 17, 2001 Second Half Rally Falls Short as ASU Falls to USCA
January 17, 2001 Jaguars, Pacers renew PBC rivalry
January 16, 2001 Paine tops ASU in City Classic
January 15, 2001 Paine Defeats ASU 68-58 Behind Yari Scott’s 27 Points
January 15, 2001 Gary Boodnikoff Named Peach Belt Player of the Week
January 14, 2001 Jaguars remain at top of league
January 13, 2001 Gary Boodnikoff Scores 26 in 80-53 Win Over Lander
January 10, 2001 Braves and Jaguars Split Peach Belt Doubleheader
January 8, 2001 Festus Hawkins Lifts ASU to 64-63 Overtime Win
January 7, 2001 Jaguars give Harris win number 1
January 6, 2001 Augusta State Defeats Columbus State 74-57
January 4, 2001 ASU Men and Women Sweep Clayton State
January 3, 2001 Augusta State Defeats Clayton State 65-54
December 21, 2000 Augusta State’s Gary Tuell to Host Holiday Basketball Clinic ... Again
December 18, 2000 Augusta State Falls To Life, 72-55
December 13, 2000 Augusta State’s Gary Tuell to Host Holiday Basketball Clinic
December 13, 2000 Festus Hawkins and Sharon Taylor Ranked Nationally
December 10, 2000 Fast start lifts Jags past Savannah State
December 9, 2000 Festus Hawkins Powers ASU Over Savannah State 87-67
December 2, 2000 Augusta State Defeats Lenoir-Rhyne 71-55
December 1, 2000 ASU Falls to 10th-Ranked Wingate 103-88
November 30, 2000 ASU Defeats Rollins 70-68
November 27, 2000 ASU Defeats West Georgia 66-61 in Home Opener
November 22, 2000 Augusta State Notches First Win at Savannah State 68-45
November 17, 2000 West Georgia Defeats Augusta State 76-74 in Overtime Thriller
November 11, 2000 Augusta State Defeats ASU Alumni/CSRA Select Team 91-55
October 14, 2000 Augusta State to host Midnight Madness Saturday, October 14
October 11, 2000 ASU Seeking Third Straight Peach Belt North Division Title
October 10, 2000 Augusta State Men’s Basketball Opens 2000-01 Season at West Georgia