Trojans Upset Top-Seeded Augusta State in Overtime; Claim NCAA Southeast Regional Title

Trojans Earn First Trip to Elite Eight

Box Score

AUGUSTA, Ga. – The seventh-seeded Anderson men’s basketball team continued its’ run through the 2011 NCAA Tournament by upsetting top-seed and host Augusta State, 75-73, in overtime in the Southeast Regional Championship Tuesday night at Christenberry Fieldhouse.

Junior Taylor Shugart scored 14 points and blocked the potential game-tying shot with two seconds left in overtime to help preserve the win. Freshman guard Denzail Jones also scored 14 points, Oskars Ernsteins added 12 points and Brandon Young dished out seven assists for the Trojans. Anderson avenged a 100-70 loss to Augusta State in last year’s Southeast Regional semifinals and a 78-72 defeat to the Jaguars in this year’s season opener for both teams.

Augusta State’s Franck Ndongo posted a double-double for the 10th time this season, including all three Southeast Regional games, with 10 rebounds and a career-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and 8-10 from the free throw line. George Johnson had 18 points and six assists for the Jaguars, who were denied a fourth straight trip to the Elite Eight and saw their home winning streak snapped at 48 straight games.

Anderson (21-11) moves on to the Elite Eight in Springfield, Mass., where it will meet West Liberty, winners of the Atlantic Region, while the Jaguars’ season ends with an overall record of 30-4, equaling their school record for wins in a season.

The Trojans earned their first-ever appearance in Elite Eight by winning five of last six games, including three in the tourney, while defeating Augusta State for the first time in three attempts.

Freshman guard Denzail Jones gave Anderson its’ first lead of the contest at 3-2 with a 3-pointer from deep on the left side, but the Trojans fell behind by four as Augusta State connected on four of its first six from the field.

The battle-tested Trojans maintained their poise and rallied back to take a 10-7 edge on Jones’ second trey of the night.

Augusta State surged from a 10-10 tie with four unanswered points, but AU capitalized on back-to-back turnovers by the Jaguars to pull even at 14 apiece on Brandon Young’s jumper from the right elbow with 11:29 left in on the clock.

The Trojans climbed back from yet another four-point deficit to claim a 30-23 lead on the strength of a 16-5 run over a span of four minutes, fueled by four consecutive 3s, the first two from Nick Trull and the next pair coming from Oskars Ernsteins. Trey Britton’s dunk off a steal by Trull ignited the outburst and Jones’ steal and layup capped the run. AU pushed out to its largest lead of the half, at 37-28, on Ernsteins’ third trey with 3:21 on the clock and the Trojans held a 39-32 advantage as the teams went to the locker rooms.

The first half featured nine lead changes and while both teams shot better than 52 percent from the field, AU connected on 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes.

Anderson came up empty on its first three possessions of the second frame, allowing the
Jags to close within 39-37, but Young’s traditional three-point play pushed the Trojans back to a five-point lead. 

The Trojans edged out to a pair of nine-point leads midway through the half, the first on an emphatic slam from Trey Britton as the 6-foot-7 forward came flying in from the right side.

But the homestanding Jags posted a 16-8 run to get within 62-61 with just under five minutes on the clock and took their first lead, 67-64, since the 7:12 mark of the first half on a 3-pointer from Augusta State’s all-tournament selection George Johnson’s at the 3:09 mark. Kevis Cornwell answered for the Trojans by draining a jumper to pull AU within one.

ASU’s O’Neill Armstrong hit two free throws to push the Jaguars’ edge back to three with exactly one minute remaining, but Shugart hit one-of-two from the line to pull Anderson within two points with 43 seconds left, and the Jaguars’ Franck Ndongo was fouled one second later. Ndongo, who had been a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line to that point, missed both attempts. Anderson’s Cornwell rebounded the second miss and hit a 12-foot jumper from the right side jumper with 27 seconds remaining to tie the score at 69. After an Augusta State timeout, the Trojans broke up Purser’s pass to Ndongo for a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Shugart scored four of Anderson’s six points in overtime, including a jumper in the paint with 1:13 on the clock that broke a 73-all tie and proved to be the winning points. Augusta State had a chance to tie after Jones missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds left, but Ben Purser’s shot in the lane was blocked cleanly by Shugart and the Anderson players and coaches erupted in celebration as time expired. Augusta State missed eight of its nine shots from the field in overtime.

Augusta State shot 57.9 percent (11-19) in the second half to rally from the seven-point halftime deficit, but just 11.1 percent (1-9) in overtime to finish the game at 47.1 percent.
(24-51) from the field, while Anderson finished at 50 percent (29-58). Augusta State converted 15 of its first 18 free throws and finished 17-22 (77.3 percent) from the charity
stripe, while Anderson connected on nine of 14 (64.3 percent) from the free throw line.

2011 NCAA Southeast Regional
All-Tournament Team
George Johnson, Augusta State, Co-Most Outstanding Player
Franck Ndongo, Augusta State, Co-Most Outstanding Player
Brandon Young, Anderson
Denzail Jones, Anderson
Reggie Hopkins, Queens

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