Attendees of the Aiken City Council meeting were a bit more animated Monday as they applauded the USC Aiken men’s basketball team for its recent win which propelled it to the Elite Eight of the Division II NCAA Tournament.


The Pacers were recognized by Aiken City Council Monday evening for its recent win in the championship game of the Southeast Regional.


When the team walked in right before the meeting began, it received a standing ovation from the audience.


Aiken City Mayor Fred Cavanaugh said it’s obvious the team is dedicated to its work, that it has a strong love for the game, and the men have a “can-do attitude.”


“We are so proud of you, and you’re going on to participate in the Elite Eight for the first time in the history of the school,” Cavanaugh said.


Cavanaugh presented a proclamation to dedicate the week of March 25 to April 1 to celebrating the team’s accomplishments.


City Manager Richard Pearce also lightheartedly gave each team member a horse-shaped squeeze hand stress reliever to take with them to their next game, which will take place in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday.


USCA head coach Vince Alexander said he’s beyond proud of the team and thanked the City for its recognition.


“I’m the most blessed coach in the world,” Alexander said.


USCA Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan was at the meeting and spoke briefly. She said the team’s actions on and off the court have been highly complimentary to the school and they have also shown a willingness to give back to the community.


“I’m proud of them in so many ways – thank you so much for representing us so well,” Jordan said to the team.


The Pacers defeated Barton 82-75 on March 19 in the championship game of the Division II NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional to advance to the Elite Eight.


USCA will play against Midwest Regional Champion Drury University in Louisville on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Should the Pacers win that game and again on Saturday, they would advance to the national championship game, which will be played on April 7 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.