A 12-0 run to end overtime propelled the Augusta University men’s basketball team to its first Final Four appearance since the 2008-09 season, winning 81-69 over Chico State in the NCAA Division II Tournament on March 22 in Evansville, Indiana.
“We beat a very good Chico team. We knew they were going to involve us in a lot of ball screens,” Jaguars head coach Dip Metress said in the postgame interview. “This was the first time all year we got a stop to send a game into overtime; very proud of our guys to come up with a stop to put us into overtime. Great team effort.”
With the game tied at 69 with 3:02 left in overtime, Arnold drove to the basket for a layup. Almost a minute later, the Jaguars started pulling away from the Wildcats (22-5) after guard Tyree Myers hit a 3 to put the Jags up five. Arnold hit another 3 to stretch the lead to eight with 1:13 remaining in the game.
In all, third-seeded AU shut down sixth-seeded Chico State over the final 3:39 of the game to push its winning streak to 18.
Crawford carried the load in the second half and, despite a few turnovers, knew he had to adjust to make the necessary plays to his teammates.
“My teammates believe in me to make passes out of the post,” Crawford said. “I’m smart enough to see where the double teams are coming from. Once I figured out what was going on [with the double teams], I just made the right plays.”
The Jaguars shot 52.5% from the field, including 11-for-22 from 3-point range, while holding the Wildcats to 34.3% from the field (24 of 70) and 28.1% from 3-point range (9-32).
“We advance to face an IUP team and all I can tell you is it’s going to be a boxing match … This is not going to be a game for the soft guys, I can tell you that,” Metress said.
Forward Malik Duffy led Chico State with 23 points but fouled out with 34 seconds left in the game. Kelvin Wright Jr. had 12 points and Brennan Wheeler chipped in 10.
Despite 11 ties and six lead changes, AU led for most of the game (30:24 vs. 6:10). It led by as much as eight late in the first half and carried a 36-30 halftime lead. Chico State led by as much as six with 8:19 in the second half thanks to a 9-0 run, but AU made sure the game never got out of hand.
In the other quarterfinals matchups, second-seeded Indiana (PA) knocked off seventh seed Hillsdale 67-55, while eighth-seeded Black Hills State upset top seed Nova Southeastern 77-67. Fifth seed Northwest Missouri State, which has won three of the past four national titles, defeated fourth seed Bentley 61-43 in the first game of the day.
There will be a watch party beginning at 6 p.m. at Stars and Strikes at 3238 Wrightsboro Rd, Augusta, GA 30909. There will be free food and shuttle service for students to and from the event.