Staff Reports

DAHLONEGA, Ga. ó The USC Aiken menís basketball team claimed a 85-79 Peach Belt Conference road victory over North Georgia on Monday evening at the Memorial Hall Gymnasium.

The win allowed USCA (10-5, 6-2 PBC) to remain tied with Armstrong Atlantic State (10-5, 6-2 PBC) for first place in the Peach Belt Conference East Division.

North Georgia (10-5, 5-3 PBC) commenced the game by racing out to a 6-1 advantage over the first couple of minutes. The Pacers then went on a quick 8-0 spurt to own a 9-6 lead with just under 16 minutes to play in the first stanza.

North Georgia battled its way back into the game, owning a 22-21 lead with 10:31 remaining in the first half of action.

USCA got the lead back shortly thereafter, eventually going on a 12-1 run to own a 33-23 advantage with 8:32 left until the halftime break.

The Pacers took as much as a 15-point lead down the stretch of the first half, but by intermission the Saints had whittled the USCA advantage down to five points at 44-39.

Ronald Zimmerman led the Pacers in the first half with 16 points. In doing so, Zimmerman nailed five 3-pointers and a free throw as part of an eventual four-point play.

The Pacers as a team ended the first half shooting 58.6 percent (17-for-29). North Georgia closed out the first half of action shooting 48.5 percent (16-of-33) as a team.

North Georgia closed the Pacer lead to just two points at 65-63 with 6:57 remaining in the second half.

The Pacers responded a 7-0 run courtesy of seven straight points from DeVontae Wright to pull ahead 72-63 with under five minutes to play in the game.

The Saints got as close as three in the latter minutes of the game before USCA pulled away for the six-point win.

Nine Pacers scored in the game in total, and three ended the game in double figures.

Zimmerman finished with a team-high 21 points in the contest. He hit six 3-pointers in the game. Zimmerman was 7-for-12 (6-of-9 beyond the arc) from the field in the contest.

Wright ended his evening with 15 points, four rebounds and three steals.

The final Pacer in double figures was Paul Larsen, who ended the USCA victory with his third straight double-double with 13 points and a game-best 10 rebounds.

Pacer point guard Reímon Nelson finished the game with eight points, eight rebounds and five assists. Nelson now has 995 points in his career. He needs just five points to become the 10th player in USC Aikenís Division II era to score 1,000 or more points.

Scott Windom came off the bench for North Georgia to lead four Saints in double figures. Windom concluded his efforts on the evening with a game-high 22 points.

USCA ended its win shooting 47.4 percent (27-for-57) as a team. The Pacers connected on 47.6 percent (10-for-21) of their 3-point attempts as a team in the game.

The Pacers shot 72.4 percent (21-for-29) from the free throw line as a team in the game.

North Georgia ended its loss to the Pacers shooting 46 percent (29-for-63) as a team. The Saints shot 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from beyond the arc in the game.

North Georgia shot 71.4 percent (15-of-21) as a team from the charity stripe in the game.

USCA will next return to the friendly confines of the Convocation Center to face off against Georgia College at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24. The contest will serve as USCAís final game against Peach Belt Conference West Division opposition in the 2012-13 regular-season.