No. 3 USC AIKEN 73, WINGATE 65


WINGATE, N.C. — USC Aiken 11th-year head coach Mike Brandt claimed his 200th win with Pacers, in USC Aiken’s 73-65 road win over Wingate in non-conference action on Friday evening at Cuddy Arena.


Brandt is now 200-109 as the Pacer head coach. He’s 453-238 in 24 seasons as a head coach.


The victory allowed the third-ranked Pacers to improve to 6-0 on the season. Friday’s game was USCA’s first road game of the year.


USCA is now 2-0 against Wingate in the season. The Pacers also bested Wingate, who was a NCAA Division II Southeast Regional finalist last season, 72-49 at the Convocation Center on Nov. 14.


The Pacers opened Friday’s win by racing out to an 11-2 lead over the first four minutes of the game.


USCA controlled the rest of the first stanza, entering halftime with a 37-26 lead.


Wingate (5-4) cut the Pacer lead down to as little as five in the second half, but USCA would hold on for the eight-point win.


The Pacers concluded the win shooting 47.5 percent (28-for-59) from the field as a team. Wingate shot 38.9 percent (21-of-54) from the field as a team.


Kayla Harris led a trio of Pacers in double figures in the game with 25 points. Harris was 11-for-20 from the field. Harris, who was 3-of-3 from the free throw line, also had a team-best eight rebounds, three steals and three assists.


After her 25 points on Friday, Harris now has 999 points in her Pacer career. The preseason All-American is just one point away from becoming the ninth women’s basketball player in USCA’s NCAA Division II era to score 1,000 points or more in their career.


Mackenzie Reese ended the Pacer win with a career-best 18 points. Reese, who was 8-for-12 from the field in the game, also had four steals and two assists.


The final Pacer in double figures was Daniela Tarailo, who ended her efforts with 11 points. Tarailo’s two 3-pointers in the Pacer win allowed her to move into fifth all-time in USCA women’s basketball history in 3-pointers made with 139.


Brittany Hill dished out a game-high seven assists for USCA, while Mia Antoine claimed a game-high five steals.


Morgan McGee led the Wingate cause in their loss with 27 points. She also had a game-high 12 boards to claim a double-double.


USCA will next turn its attention to exams for the majority of the upcoming week before returning to the hardwood to open Peach Belt Conference play at home against UNC Pembroke on Dec. 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.