USC AIKEN 67, GA. SOUTHWESTERN 64

STAFF REPORTS


AMERICUS, Ga. ó In a battle of league unbeatens, the USC Aiken menís basketball team remained perfect in Peach Belt Conference play (3-0) with a 67-64 road win over Georgia Southwestern.


Thursdayís game was close throughout, and neither team really able to claim any separation as the first half ended in a 30-all tie.


With slightly more than 10 minutes to play in the game, Georgia Southwestern (6-4, 2-1) owned a narrow one-point lead over USCA (7-3) at 46-45. Behind a 3-pointer by Santoine Butler and two consecutive treys by Kinley Branch, the Pacers went on a 9-0 run to take a 54-46 advantage with 8:51 to play.


But as was the case throughout the game, no team could build an insurmountable lead. The Hurricanes battled back and ultimately tied the score at 59-all with 4:17 left. The Pacers responded with another spurt of their own, going on an 8-2 run to pull ahead 67-61 with 2:43 left in the contest.


USCA was held scoreless the rest of the way, but Jamon Hawkinsí 3-point attempt at the buzzer for Georgia Southwestern to send the game into overtime fell short. In total, USCA held Georgia Southwestern without a field goal for the final 5:18 of the game, as the Hurricanes final eight points came at the free-throw line.


Eight different Pacers scored in the victory, with three finishing in double figures. Butler and Reímon Nelson led the way with 15 points each, while Butler added four rebounds and Nelson had three assists.


Paul Larsen was the final Pacer in double-digits with 12 points. He just missed on a double-double, finishing the win with nine rebounds.


USCA shot 48 percent (24-for-50) as a team. Georgia Southwestern closed out the loss shooting 40.4 percent (21-for-52), with Jamon Hawkins leading the Hurricanes with a game-high 24 points.


The game was the first of seven straight against PBC West Division foes for the Pacers, who will return to action on Saturday on Saturday at Columbus State. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.