After splitting matchups with teams likely headed to the Peach Belt Conference tournament, the No. 17 USC Aiken men’s basketball team will host the team with one of the worst records in the league.
The Pacers (19-3, 9-1 PBC) are set to face Armstrong Atlantic (7-14, 4-10) at 7:30 p.m. today as part of homecoming festivities, and unless the Pirates see newfound success on defense, USCA could find a cure to its own woes of late. The Pacers fell to rival GRU Augusta on Saturday before edging Lander for a one-point win.
Armstrong is 13th of 14 PBC teams in scoring defense at an average of 81.9 points per game, and that could bode well for the trio of Ron Zimmerman, DeVontae Wright and Paul Larsen. Zimmerman is fifth in the conference in scoring at 16.7 points per game and is seventh in the PBC in 3-point shooting at 43.9 percent. That’s just behind Wright, who is shooting 49 percent from beyond the arc and averages 14.4 points per outing.
Larsen rounds out the double-digit scorers at 12.5 points per game, and he leads the league in field-goal percentage at 62.2 percent while grabbing 8.5 rebounds, sixth in the PBC.
He’ll do battle with the Pirates’ Eric Eversley, who averages a double-double and is second in the PBC with 10 rebounds per game while scoring 12.2 points per contest. The Pirates are led in scoring by Hichem Benayad-Cherif, who is 10th in the conference with 15.4 points, and Emmanuel Tiluscar adds in 13.7 points per game.
The teams split their two games a year ago, both winning on their home floors. The Pirates edged the Pacers 90-87 in Savannah despite 23 points and 14 rebounds from Larsen, largely on the strength of 39 points from Aric Miller, who graduated. USCA exacted revenge in a 92-67 rout at the Convocation Center two weeks later, with Larsen going for 24 points and eight boards and Zimmerman connecting on 7 of 18 3-point attempts for 21 points.
This year, the Pacers are the conference’s top 3-point shooting team at 40.7 percent, while the Pirates allow opponents to connect on 39.2 percent of shots from deep, the most porous 3-point defense in the PBC.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University. Follow him on Twitter @ASJTimm.
WHAT: USC Aiken men’s basketball
WHO: No. 17 USCA (19-3, 9-1 PBC) vs. Armstrong Atlantic (7-14, 4-10)
WHERE: Convocation Center
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
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