AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Top-seeded and fourth-ranked Augusta State survived a furious late-game charge by No. 8 seed Tusculum, winning 62-60, in the quarterfinals of the 2009 NCAA Southeast Regional on Saturday evening in Christenberry Fieldhouse.
With the victory, the host Jaguars (27-4) extended their winning streak to 13 straight and matched the school record for wins in a season with 27. ASU advanced to its third consecutive region semifinal, which will take place on 7:30 p.m. on Sunday evening. The Jags will face the winner of No. 4 seed GCSU and No. 5 seed Barton. Tusculum finishes its season at 20-11 in just its second NCAA Regionals berth in school history.
Trailing 62-60 with 13 seconds left, Tusculum guard Jimmy Boone came up with a steal of a Fred Brathwaite pass, but his off-balance three-pointer was short with two seconds left. Augusta State guard Steve Smith missed the front end of his one-and-one, but Tusculum was unable to get a quality shot off in the final 1.1 seconds after securing the rebound.
It was the stellar play of South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year Kyle Moore that willed the Pioneers back into the game late in the second half. Augusta State led by as many as 17 points after halftime, but a Moore layup cut the lead to single digits, 54-45, with 4:38 left, then Moore hit two three-pointers to make it 55-51 with 1:34 remaining. A 32’ three-pointer by Moore from in front of the Tusculum bench made it a one-possession game, 60-57, with 22.9 seconds left, and another three-pointer by Ryan Troutman with 16.7 seconds left brought the score to two, 62-60, setting up the late-game drama.
Tusculum weathered an early Ben Madgen storm in the first half. Madgen scored 10 of the Jaguars’ first 12 points as Augusta State opened up with a 12-7 lead. Tusculum got back-to-back three-pointers from Moore and a basket by Taylor Hobbs to take a 23-15 lead with 5:46 left in the first half.
Augusta State responded with a 13-2 run at the end of the half, sparked by a Fred Brathwaite three-pointer and a dunk on consecutive possessions, to take a 30-27 lead into halftime. Madgen’s 10 points led the host Jaguars at halftime, while Moore had 12 at intermission to lead Tusculum.
The blistering play by Augusta State at the end of the half continued after halftime as the Jaguars scored the first six points of the second half on a Madgen steal and layup, a Garrett Siler dunk and a Greg Hire driving layup. The 25-4 run covering the final five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half was capped by back-to-back Madgen three-pointers, giving ASU a seemingly insurmountable 42-29 lead with 14:38 remaining.
Madgen led a trio of Jaguar players in double figures with 18 points. Garrett Siler recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds, his 19th straight game with double digit scoring. Fred Brathwaite added 16 points for the Jaguars.