Trojan Rally Falls Just Shy in SAC/Peach Belt ClassicNovember 12, 2010
Jones Scores 17 points in debut
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – The Anderson men’s basketball team mounted a furious second-half rally, but fell just short, 78-72, to three-time defending regional champion Augusta State Friday night in the South Atlantic Conference/Peach Belt Conference Classic hosted by Tusculum College’s Pioneer Arena.
The season-opener for both teams, with each a preseason selection to finish second in their respective conferences, saw Augusta State build an 18-point lead with just more than 13 minutes remaining, but the Trojans rallied to cut the deficit all the way to just 74-70 with 26 seconds on the clock.
But ASU’s Ben Purser and George Johnson connected on four free throws in the final 15 seconds to hold off AU's comeback attempt.
In a rematch of last season’s NCAA Regional semifinals that saw ASU claim the win, the Trojans never led, but nearly overcame the Jaguar’s 63.2 percent shooting in the second half.
Anderson, which won 24 games last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Round of 32 before falling to the Jags, was paced by Denzail Jones' 17 points. Brandon Young and Taylor Shugart chipped in 10 points each. Jones was a perfect seven-of-seven from the charity stripe and handed out a game-high five assists.
Augusta State junior guard Tye Beal, making his first career start, scored a career-high 22 points and handed out three assists with a steal. Senior guard George Johnson recorded 20 points and four steals in his Jaguar debut and senior forward Franck Ndongo scored 16 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to go along with two assists and two steals.
The Jags outrebounded the Trojans 25-23 and committed 14 turnovers to AU's 16 miscues.
Anderson will get back on the hardwood quickly, squaring off against Clayton State on Saturday at Pioneer Arena, with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m.