COLUMBUS, Ga. — The USC Aiken men’s basketball team dropped its first Peach Belt Conference game of the year in a 95-90 overtime road loss to Columbus State on Saturday afternoon at the Lumpkin Center.
The contest started with the two teams tied at 8-8 with 15:48 remaining in the first half.
The Pacers then went on a 23-10 run over the next almost seven and a half minutes to own a 31-18 lead with 8:24 to play in the opening half.
The Pacers entered halftime owning a 42-35 advantage.
USCA (7-4, 3-1 PBC) closed the first half shooting 57.7 percent (15-for-26) as a team from the field. Columbus State (6-5, 1-3 PBC) shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the field as a team in the first stanza.
Almost half of USCA’s field goals as a team in the first half came from beyond the arc where they were 7-for-13 (53.8 percent).
Ronald Zimmerman led the Pacers in the first half with 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Zimmerman knocked down four 3-pointers in the first half of action.
USCA opened the second half on a 9-5 run that extended its lead to 11 points at 51-40 with 15:11 left to play in regulation.
The Pacers led by 14 points with just over nine minutes to play in the second half, but the double-digit lead did not last with the Cougars owning a one-point 73-72 with 3:05 left to play in the second stanza.
The lead for Columbus State lasted for just 15 seconds with Zimmerman knocking down a 3-pointer on USCA’s ensuing offensive possession to give the Pacers back the lead at 75-73.
After a couple of Columbus State free throws, the game was tied at 75-75. On USC Aiken’s next possession, Re’mon Nelson gave USCA back the lead at 77-75 when he scored with 1:01 left to play in regulation.
Columbus State’s Winford Ivey tied the game at 77-77 with two free throws with 7.8 seconds left in the second half.
USCA had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Derrick Scott’s long-range effort at the buzzer just rimmed out to send the game into overtime.
Columbus State outscored the Pacers 18-13 in overtime to claim the narrow five-point win.
Four Pacers finished in double figures in the game with Zimmerman leading the way with a game-high 27 points. Zimmerman knocked down six 3-pointers in total in the contest.
Nelson just missed on a double-double in the game with 15 points and seven assists.
Santoine Butler was 4-of-6 from the floor en route to 12 points for the Pacers. He also had a team-best seven rebounds to go along with four assists, three blocks and one steal.
Scott was the final Pacer in double figures with 11 points.
USCA will now have a week off before next welcoming Peach Belt Conference foe Montevallo to the Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 12. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.