News 12 @ 11 Sunday March 16, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tyrekus ‘AJ’ Bowman tied a career-high with 33 points as the Augusta State Jaguars advanced to the NCAA South Atlantic Region championship game for the first time in school history with their 78-65 win over Wingate on Sunday. Augusta State (24-6) will play in Tuesday’s championship game against either Clayton State or Lenoir-Rhyne, who meet in the second semifinal.
Bowman, the PBC co-Player of the Year, moved into second place on both the ASU and Peach Belt all-time scoring lists with his 33 points, coming off 14 of 23 shooting including four three-pointers. The senior also had a game-best 12 rebounds and four steals.
Wingate began the game on a tear, hitting 10 of their first 19 field goals, including five three-pointers, as they opened up a 27-17 lead over the first 12 minutes. Barnette was nearly untouchable during that span, the SAC Player of the Year hit three of the five three-pointers, including back-to-back bombs as he scored 11 points in the first.
Augusta State answered with a 16-6 run to end the half. Ben Madgen scored nine of his 11 first-half points in the final eight minutes as the Jaguars scored the final five points to tie the score at 33 heading in to the break. Wingate was largely without defensive force Bryan Grier, who was limited to five minutes of first-half play after picking up two fouls.
Wingate ( 24-7) began the second half much the same way they began the first as Sam Holmes hit a pair of three-pointers surrounding a Grier dunk to open up a 41-35 lead. Augusta State responded with Garret Siler, who scored three straight baskets to tie the game at 41.
Wingate led 55-53 following a three from Ernest Mangum before Augusta State started a run that closed out the game. Bowman hit back-to-back three-pointers and scored 14 points in the final eight minutes as ASU outscored the Bulldogs 22-10 to close out the contest. Wingate went 4:46 without a point, missing six straight shots and committing seven turnovers. Augusta State ended the game with 10 steals.
Siler scored 19 with six rebounds and five blocks for the Jaguars while Madgen had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. The Jaguars shot 44 percent for the game, 52 percent in the second half and outrebounded Wingate 46-31.
Barnette led the Bulldogs with 20 points, hitting four of eight threes, and a team-best 10 rebounds. Grier finished with 14 points and seven boards while DeMario Mattox added 10 points. The Bulldogs shot 41 percent from the field and made 10 three-pointers as a team.
Augusta State, who fell to Wingate in the 2007 semifinals, will make their first NCAA Regional Championship appearance on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Wingate, who advanced to the Elite Eight in 2007, sees their season come to a close.