Hundreds of people nabbed seats at USC Aiken’s Convocation Center Thursday to watch the Pacer men continue their history-making championship quest.
The game was live-streamed on two giant screens in the event center, and the public was invited to the viewing party to root on their home team in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II men’s basketball tournament. The Pacer men took on Drury University.
“It’s hard to watch on TV because I want to be there,” said Kathy Samaha. “We’re just big Pacer fans.”
The crowd ooh, ahhed and booed as the Pacers battled the Panthers, and roared their approval when the Pacers overcame a gaping first-half point deficit to lead 47-46 shortly after halftime.
“They’re cranking back,” said Willie Carter. “I want to see (head coach) Vince Alexander win a championship.”
Many agreed the Pacers looked a little nervous in the first quarter, but believed it was due to the fact USC Aiken was making its first appearance in the tournament’s Elite Eight. The Pacers advanced to the quarterfinals by winning the Southeast Regional tournament for the first time last week.
Sedarien Dantzler watched the game in support of his two roommates — Pacer guards Re’mon Nelson and Jesse Seilern.
“The (Southeast Regional) win was surreal. I feel like the whole city of Aiken was actually behind us. (If they win tonight), it would take things to another level,” Dantzler said.
The Pacers lost 84-75.