Winona State wins Div. II title with 87-76 win over Augusta State
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Jonte Flowers scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half and Winona State erased a 16-point deficit to win its second NCAA Division II championship in three years with an 87-76 win over Augusta State on Saturday.
Flowers was named tournament most valuable player.
John Smith scored 18 points for Winona State (38-1), while Travis Whipple had 10 and Quincy Henderson scored 10 points with 10 rebounds.
A.J. Bowman scored 26 points to lead Augusta State (27-7), which was playing in the title game for the first time. He made 12 of 15 shots (80 percent) to set a record for the championship game.
Garret Siler and Ben Madgen scored 20 points each for the Jaguars.
Augusta State led 53-37 with 17:25 left in the game before Winona State's defensive pressure sparked a rally that brought the Warriors back. Flowers' basket tied the game at 58 with 10 minutes left.
"Trailing by two points or four is one thing, but when it started to get into double digits, that was another," Winona State coach Mike Leaf said.
After Siler's basket and foul shot gave Augusta State a 61-58 lead, Flowers tied the game with a 3-pointer, before Siler scored again.
Smith followed with a free throw, then a 3-point shot to give Winona State a 65-63 lead, its first lead of the second half.
Bowman scored 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting in the first half, when Augusta State opened a 44-32 lead at the half.
"Our defense wasn't doing what it was supposed to do, but we scored the last four points of the first half to go in on a positive," Leaf said.
Winona State set the NCAA Division II record for victories in a season, breaking the record of 36 by Regis (Colo.) College, which had stood since 1949.
Ben Fischer scored consecutive baskets that gave Winona State, which trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half, a 69-65 lead with less than six minutes left.
Fischer scored eight points. The Warriors, who outscored Augusta State 55-32 in the second half, led from that point thereafter.
When Flowers hit consecutive 3-point baskets, Winona State's lead was 75-68 with 3:50 left.
Winona State won the title in 2006 with a 73-61 win over Virginia Union, but lost last year's title game 77-75 to Barton.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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