Augusta State Athletics

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Travis Keels' tip-in with 1.6 seconds remaining gave the No. 5-ranked Augusta State men's basketball team a 63-61 come-from-behind Peach Belt Conference win against visiting Armstrong Atlantic State on Wednesday evening in Augusta, Ga.

The Jaguars (13-1, 5-1 PBC) survived the upset bid by the Pirates (8-4, 2-2 PBC) thanks in large part to free throw shooting as Augusta State made 25-of-28 shots from the charity stripe, including 16-of-18 in the second half.

The Pirates took a four-point lead with under a minute to play on junior Chris Vanlandingham's jumper in the lane with 56.2 seconds left, but Augusta State's George Johnson responded with a three-pointer with 47.2 seconds left to cut the lead to one, 61-60.

Chris Edwards missed a shot and Keyshore Williams committed a foul on the Jaguars' Ben Purser, sending him to the free throw line with 17.7 seconds left. Purser made one of two, and Franck Ndongo got the offensive rebound after the second miss to give the Jaguars the chance for the win in regulation.

With 4.5 seconds left, the Jaguars inbounded and Ndongo drove to the left side of the basket and missed a try, but Keels was able to get a tip as the ball popped off the rim, scoring with 1.6 seconds left to give Augusta the lead. Armstrong's court-length pass was deflected and time ran out on the Pirates' chance to upset the Jaguars.

Edward and Johnson battled all night long in a shooter's duel as the Pirates' junior hit 7-of-12 shots from the floor, including 4-of-6 three-pointers for 19 points. Vanlandingham added 14 points for the Pirates.

Johnson was nearly perfect on the night as he hit 7-of-8 shots from the floor, including all four three-point attempts as well as all six free throw attempts for 24 points. Keels finished the night with 13 points for the Jaguars.

Armstrong finished the night outshooting the Jaguars, hitting 47.6 percent from the floor (20-of-42) compared to 38.1 percent for Augusta State (16-of-42), but the Pirates had key misses from the free throw line as the Pirates hit just 15-of-25 from the charity stripe (60 percent).

The Pirates return to action on Saturday, January 15, visiting Georgia College for a Peach Belt Conference matchup with the Bobcats at 3:30 p.m. in Milledgeville, Ga.