COLUMBUS, GA -- In a rematch of last year’s Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game, Kennesaw State’s defense shut down Augusta State holding the Jaguars to just 49 points on 29.3 percent shooting for a 69-49 win in the first 2003 PBC Tournament men’s basketball semifinal. The Owls improve to 24-8 and advance to the championship game for the second-straight season and will face the winner of the Columbus State/USC Spartanburg semifinal on Sunday at 4:00 PM. ASU closes out the year at 18-11.
Brandon Moore poured in 17 of his game-high 20 points in the opening stanza as KSU broke open a 16-16 tie to claim a 32-23 halftime lead. Moore hit four triples in the first half off the bench to provide the offensive spark. He finished 6-of-12 from the field including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Owls extended their advantage to 38-25 on Reggie McKoy’s jumper at 18:06. The Jags did not go away quietly, however, using a 15-3 run to slice the margin to just one at 41-40 on Chris Harriman’s layup with 13:26 to play. KSU countered with a 10-1 run fueled by seven-straight points from Terrence Hill to again hold a double digit lead at the final media timeout, 51-41 with 8:42 to play.
KSU converted 16-of-25 second half free throws to thwart any hopes of a late Jaguar run and pull away to the 69-49. Hill, announced earlier in the day as the PBC Player of the Year, added a double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. As a team, the Owls dominated the glass to the tune of 52-36.
David Siebrands scored seven of his team-best 11 points and pulled down 11 of his career-high 13 rebounds in the first half. Patrick Curran and Jermale Wilkerson each added 10 points. Harriman closed out his career at Augusta State with nine points, eight rebounds, and five steals.
Head Coach Gary Tuell
"The last Division I team that we played was Utah and they beat us by seven at their place. I think this Kennesaw team is better than that Utah team, defensively. (KSU) is the best Division one team we’ve played. I like their chances. I think this Kennesaw team can play for a national championship."
"We wanted to pack it in with some different zones and it worked pretty well just looking at the shooting percentages. We weren’t big enough or strong enough to handle them off the glass. Defensively, when they are allowed to play the way they like to play it is awfully hard to get good shots and a lot of the credit goes to their defense but some if was because we choked."
"We wanted to win it so bad we were too tight. We tried our best to keep them loose. They tightened up out there."
On senior Chris Harriman "Chris is the most special kid we’ve had in our program. We’ve had better players but never had a senior as special as him. There are a dozen coaches in America that have had a player like this before. We will miss him more than any other player I’ve ever had at Augusta State."
"(KSU) tightened up on defense and pushed us around. We couldn’t find a way to take it to them. And then when we did, we choked on our opportunities that we did get."
On his career with the Jaguars "It’s been pretty amazing. I didn’t know what to expect. Its tough to go out like this. You have to give credit to Kennesaw. I think they are the best team we’ve played in this conference for the last four years."
Kennesaw State University
Head Coach Tony Ingle
"I felt like both teams really came to play tonight. We got a little lead going into halftime and feeling pretty good. Then we came out after halftime ready to battle. We got a little lead a little bit later and hit some big free throws when we had to."
"Georgy (Joseph) is probably the best defensive player in the conference. He can guard a point guard and a five man. He is electrifying and gives us an added punch. He can guard anyone. He comes out of nowhere to get blocked shots."
"Coach Tuell started in a match up zone, then went to a man to man, then a triangle and two but we were able to respond. It was a team effort. He threw everything but the kitchen sink at us. Brandon (Moore) was able to get some shots. Give Brandon credit because he is that kind of player."
"We understand where we are and we worked hard to get here. We need to get some rest. This game took a lot out of us."
"Like coach emphasizes before every game, no one is selfish on the floor. That is what makes us a great ball team. Everyone loves to see the next guy do well."
On playing in Hawaii earlier in the season and getting used to a tournament style of play "To have coaches help us do that it’s fun. If we lose we treat it as if we lost a championship game and we bounce back. No one is going to back down from anyone."
On being selected PBC Player of the Year "It was a surprise that I got the award. But tomorrow you have to go out there and do it again."