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USC Aiken Claims Men's Basketball Regular-Season Championship!

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Pacers Claim PBC Championship Outright With 71-53 Victory Over Flagler

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team garnered the Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball championship outright with a 71-53 victory over Flagler on Saturday at Flagler Gymnasium.

The Peach Belt Conference championship is the second in the last five years for the Pacers, who also collected the league regular-season championship in the 2007-08 season.

USC Aiken’s men’s basketball program has now claimed three PBC regular-season championships in the history of the program (1992-93, 2007-08 and 2011-12).

The Pacer men conclude their regular season with a 20-6 overall record. The Pacers, who were tabbed to finish sixth in the Peach Belt Conference Preseason Men’s Basketball Poll, were 14-4 in Peach Belt Conference play in the 2011-12 regular season.

USC Aiken’s 20th win of the year on Saturday means that USC Aiken has now obtained a 20-win campaign in four of the last five years.

Four Pacers finished in double figures in the win over Flagler (9-17, 2-16 PBC) with Joel Gierbolini (Carolina, Puerto Rico/Long Island) leading the way with 14 points.

Ronald Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) knocked down three 3-pointers en route to his 13 points, while Sterling Council (Camden, S.C./Camden) concluded his impressive week with 12 points. Council also had five assists in the game.

Chase Holmes (Chesnee, S.C./Presbyterian) was the final Pacer in double figures with 10 points.

Ryan Barnes led Flagler in its loss with 16 points.

USC Aiken concluded its win shooting 48.1 percent (25-for-52) as a team. Flagler shot 39.2 percent (20-for-51) as a team.

USC Aiken opened the game by racing out to a 22-12 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the first stanza.

The Pacers would enter the halftime break still clinging to the 10-point advantage at 35-25.

USC Aiken would keep its lead in double digits for all of the second half en route to its 18-point win.

The Pacers will enter the upcoming Peach Belt Conference Basketball Tournament in Columbus, Ga. as the No. 1 seed in the PBC East.

Lander Men's Basketball Defeats UNCP Pembroke, 79-75

GREENWOOD – Dwight Tolbert and David Pruett combined for 54 points Saturday afternoon to lead the Lander men’s basketball team to a 79-75 Peach Belt Conference victory over UNC Pembroke on Senior Day in Horne Arena. The game was the regular-season finale for both teams, who advance to next week’s PBC Tournament in Columbus, Ga.

Lander improves to 18-8 overall and 11-7 in the PBC, while the Braves drop to 17-11, 11-7.

Tolbert connected on 11-of-20 field goals, including 5-of-12 threes, and 3-of-5 free throws. Pruett, who netted 21 second-half points, was 7-of-15 from the floor, including 5-of-11 threes, and made all five of his foul shots. Corey Wright added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Darius Carrier had a team best nine rebounds.

The Braves were led by Shahmel Brackett and Marcus Heath, who scored 16 points each. Heath and Ben Jacobs led the team in rebounds with seven each.

Down 35-27 at halftime, the Bearcats gradually chipped at the Braves’ lead until they tied it at 47-47 with 13:52 left to play.

From there, Lander went on a 12-3 run to take a 59-50 lead on a Wright layup with 9:35 remaining.

UNCP rallied to cut the margin to 64-63 on a Brackett layup at 5:47, but Tolbert put Lander up 71-66 with three free throws at 3:57.

After Pembroke’s K.J. Cooper scored a goal, Lander countered with two Dennis Rumph free throws to make it 73-68 at 3:07.

Shahmel’s two foul shots cut it to 73-70 at 2:39 and Lander came back with two Pruett foul shots one minute later. Pruett sank two more from the charity stripe with 13 second remaining to make it 79-73.

The two teams played tight the first seven minutes of the game, then Lander eased out to a 19-10 lead on a Tolbert jumper with 10:21 left in the half.

The Braves went on a 12-2 run to take a 22-21 lead at 6:29 on a Griffin Pittman jumper. After four more lead changes saw UNCP take a 27-25 advantage on a Heath three, the Braves finished the half with a 10-2 run and a 35-27 lead at intermission.

Lander connected on 28-of-58 field goals for 48.3 percent, including 10-of-24 three pointers for 41.7 percent. The Bearcats also dropped in 13-of-18 free throws for 72.2 percent.

UNCP made 28-of-67 floor shots for 41.8 percent, including 9-of-25 threes for 36 percent. The Braves sank 10-of-11 foul shots for 90.9 percent.

Jaguars Claw Armstrong

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Augusta State closed out the regular season in style Saturday night with a 91-78 Peach Belt Conference road win at Armstrong Atlantic State in Alumni Arena.

With the victory, the Jags finished the regular season at 16-10 overall and 12-6 in the league. ASU also locked up the No. 2 seed in the PBC’s East Division.

ASU freshman Devon Wright-Nelson poured in a career-high 32 points points and just missed his fourth double-double with a game-high nine rebounds. Fellow freshman Devonte Thomas pitched in 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Sophomore Harold Doby and senior Tye Beal managed 15 and 10 points, respectively. Junior Travis Keels logged nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Freshman reserve point guard D’Angelo Boyce added five assists.

The Jags scored a season-high 57 points in the first half and shot 60.0 percent from the field, connecting on 18-of-30 field-goal attempts en route to a 57-34 halftime lead.

The Pirates (10-16, 6-12 PBC), who were celebrating Senior Night, got 30 points from Mychal Horn and 11 each from Grant Domsic, Keyshore Williams and Aric Miller.

The Jags return to action next Friday, March 2 in the quarterfinals of the PBC Championships in Columbus, Ga.

Columbus State Men’s Basketball Defeats Georgia Southwestern 84-64

Columbus – The Columbus State University men's basketball team wanted to end the 2011-2012 regular season on a high note. Well, the Cougars did just that defeating Georgia Southwestern 84-64 in the regular season finale. The Peach Belt Conference game was played inside the Lumpkin Center

CSU got out of the gates quick as the raced to an 8-0 through the opening three minutes of the contest.  Jarmarquis Steverson hit a pair of three-pointers and Johnathan Murphy added a layup during that time.

Columbus State continued to add on to their lead as they took a 22-10 advantage after Idell Bell drained a shot from downtown with 9:36 remaining in the opening half.

Georgia Southwestern started to string some baskets together over the next couple of minutes eventually dwindling their deficit down to six, 26-20, with 7:15 showing on the clock.  Evan Mobley and Jamon Hawkins scored nine of the Hurricane 10 points during the spurt.
The Cougars defense clamped down from there as they held GSW to only three points over the remainder of the half.  They built their lead to 16, 39-23 entering halftime.

It was more of the same to open the second half as CSU eventually built up a 21-point advantage, 51-20, just three and a half minutes into the second half.

Over the next five minutes, the Hurricanes started to crawl their way back into the game riding the hot hands of Mobley and Hawkins.  The duo combined to score 14 of the teams next 18 points cutting the CSU lead down to single digits, 57-48.

That would be as close as they would get the rest of the game as the Cougars scored on their next possession pushing the advantage back into double digits.  AJ Shepherd made a pair of free throws with 1:18 to go in the game putting Columbus State in front 84-62.  The 22-point lead was the largest of the game.

Four players scored in double figures led by Winford Ivey who dropped a season high 18 points.  Steve Peterson and Jarmarquis Steverson each had 16 points while Johnathan Murphy added 13.  Darius Mcknight flirted with a double-double netting nine points and grabbing eight rebounds.  Peterson corralled a game high 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the year.

Mobley paced the GSW attack scoring a game high 23 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field.  Hawkins was right behind him with 22 points while Marlon Rivera added 10.  As a team, they shot just 36.2% (21-for-58) from the field.  They were a paltry 7-for-30 (23.3%) from three-point range.