Jaguars remain at top of league

By Chris Gay 
Staff Writer 

A first half to remember kept Augusta State at the top of the Peach Belt Conference.

Gary Boodnikoff made five consecutive 3-pointers during a 27-1 Jaguar first-half run as Augusta State routed Lander 80-53 at the ASU athletic complex Saturday night.

``We just played loose and relaxed,'' Augusta State acting head coach Buck Harris said. ``Boodnikoff told me before the game that he felt hot.''

In the women's game, Donna Hanson tied the school record with six 3-pointers as the Lady Jaguars knocked off the Lady Senators 73-59.

Boodnikoff was 9-of-11 from the field, including 6-of-7 from 3-point range, and scored a season-high 26 points. Festus Hawkins added 17 points, while T.J. Ott chipped in 12.

``I told Buck before the game that I was going to shoot the ball well,'' Boodnikoff said. ``That run, I just looked up and saw that we were up 25-4.''

Augusta State (10-3, 5-0) shot 51 percent from the field and went 9-of-16 behind the arc. The Jaguar defense made a season-high 10 blocks and held the Senators (6-6, 1-3) to 31 percent shooting.

This is Augusta State's sixth straight win over Lander (6-6, 1-3) and its biggest margin of victory this season (27).

With the score knotted at 5, Boodnikoff's hot hand got the Jaguars smoking. The Australian guard drained two 3-pointers from the top of the key, and Marcus Gradney followed with a rare four-point play as Augusta jumped out front 19-5.

Two minutes later, Boodnikoff ran down a loose ball and pulled up for a 3-pointer from the left wing as the Jaguars took a 24-point lead with 9:38 left before halftime. Augusta State extended the lead to 48-19 at the break.

For the first time in a week, coach Gary Tuell returned to the bench as an assistant coach to Harris. Tuell missed the previous three games recovering from an appendectomy.

``Gary was very helpful tonight,'' Harris said. ``He pointed out things to me that he thought we should do defensively. He broke down the film, and we had a very detailed walk-through today.''

In the women's game, Hanson opened the game with three straight 3-pointers as the Lady Jaguars began the game on a 13-2 run. Augusta State extended the lead to 43-28 at the half.

Hanson ended the game with a season-high 24 points to lead the Lady Jaguars, while Faith Nixon added 17.

``I know I haven't been playing up to my potential,'' Hanson said. ``I've been playing against myself.''

Augusta State (9-5, 3-2) held Lander 22-of-63 shooting, including a 1-of-15 performance from three-point range.

``It helped that we had somebody on fire right at the beginning,'' Lady Jaguar coach Greg Wilson said. ``I was pleased with our defensive intensity. That's the most intensity we've shown since the Clayton State game.''

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