ARMSTRONG 90, USC AIKEN 87
SAVANNAH, Ga. — The USC Aiken men’s basketball team had its six-game winning streak halted in a 90-87 loss to Peach Belt Conference rival Armstrong Atlantic State on Saturday.
In spite of the loss at Alumni Arena on Armstrong’s Savannah, Ga. campus, USCA (15-6, 11-3) remains in first place in the East Division. The Pacers are also still in the hunt for the overall PBC regular-season title because they got some help.
Much like Armstrong, Clayton State pulled off an unlikely win over Montevallo (15-7, 11-4), leaving USCA with a half-game lead for best record in the PBC ahead of the West Division’s top team. The Pacers’ lead in the East is 1½ games.
The loss to the second-place Pirates (13-7, 9-4) was disappointing, especially since USCA led by as many as 11 points in the first half. It led 53-47 at halftime.
The second half was very different, as Armstrong built a nine-point lead with 8:35 remaining in the game. But the Pacers battled back, eventually taking an lead 87-85 with 39 seconds left in the game.
Aric Miller gave the Pirates the lead back – 88-87 – after he hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go in the game. Antroine Williford hit two free throws with 10 seconds to play to leave Armstrong with a 90-87 lead.
USCA had a chance to tie the contest in the final seconds, but Ronald Zimmerman’s 3-point attempt rimmed out, securing the Pirates’ three-point victory.
Four Pacers scored in double figures in the game. Paul Larsen led the way with 23 points and tied his career high with 14 rebounds. Half of Larsen’s 14 boards came on the offensive glass as he recorded his eighth double-doubles of the season.
Senior point guard Re’mon Nelson had 20 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal for the Pacers while DeVontae Wright contributed 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. The final Pacer in double figures, Santoine Butler, had 13 points, seven rebounds and a game-high tying five assists.
Miller led all scorers with 39 points. He was one of three Pirates in double figures.
USCA shot 43.1 percent (31-for-72) as a team. Armstrong shot 47.5 percent (28-for-59) from the field. The Pacers owned a 47-36 rebounding advantage in the game, claiming 22 offensive rebounds.
They’ll be on the road again for their next game, when the Pacers travel to St. Augustine, Fla. on Thursday to face Flagler. Tip-off in the Valentine’s Day PBC showdown is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.