Pacers Roll Again, Still Sit Atop Peach Belt Standings

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News 12 @ 11 Saturday Feb. 23, 2008
AIKEN, S.C.— For the second time in the past week, #5 USC Aiken (23-2, 17-1 PBC) drilled a school-record 16 threes in a home blowout win. Saturday night, the Pacers’ hot shooting was at the expense of visiting Columbus State (12-16, 8-10 PBC) in an 85-62 victory in Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball action at the USCA Convocation Center. It was the 10th-straight win for USC Aiken, breaking the school record for consecutive wins set earlier this season.

Junior Chris Commons led four Pacer starters in double figures with 24 points while junior Kingsley Oguchi drilled six threes in adding 18 as the hosts set a new school record for wins in the NCAA era. The 23 wins best the previous record of 22, set in 1992-93. The squad is just one win shy of tying the record win total for the program’s 33-year history, set at 24 in 1980-81.

After holding a five-point halftime lead, USC Aiken put the game away with a dominant second half. After the Cougars scored the first basket of the period, Oguchi drilled three from long range to account for a 9-2 spurt that gave his team their first double-digit lead (48-36) with 17:04 remaining.

The lead hit 15 before Columbus State cut the deficit back to single digits on a layup by Corris Portis at the 10:51 mark. Junior Jeremy Fears then drilled a triple to jumpstart a 13-2 run that brought the lead to 21 (71-50) and essentially put the game away.

Sophomore Rashad Flowers scored the last five points of the game in the final 40 seconds, including the record-tying three from the left corner. The shot was Flowers’ first three-point attempt of his career but swished through the net.

The Pacers held a 48-30 advantage in the second half to pull away. They also dominated the glass in the final 20 minutes with a 26-11 edge.

USC Aiken threatened early to blow Columbus State away, first with a 7-0 run to start the game. The Pacers led by seven on three occasions in the first half, but the Cougars refused to fade. After CSU cut the margin to one at 29-28 with 2:50 left, but USCA closed the half on a 9-4 run to lead 37-32.

Commons scored 14 points in the opening half while Oguchi added nine on 3-for-5 shooting from long range. The Pacers knocked down 8-of-13 threes in the half.

A 16-4 run midway through the first half opened up a one-point game into a double digit spread as USC Aiken (18-7, 11-7 PBC) cruised to a 69-50 win over Columbus State (15-10, 11-7 PBC) in women’s Peach Belt Conference basketball on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center. With their sixth-straight home victory, the Lady Pacers complete their first season sweep of the Lady Cougars in 17 years.

The game was carried live on CSTV’s Broadband network. USC Aiken is now 2-0 on those national broadcasts.

Both teams entered the game still in the race for the regular season title, as well as fighting for PBC Tournament seeding and NCAA Tournament consideration. Moving into a three-way tie for fourth, just one game back of second, the Pacers hold a key tiebreaker with their head-to-head wins over CSU.

Junior Meredith Legg continues to excel in her matchups with Columbus State. In USC Aiken’s 75-61 win in Columbus on January 19, Legg poured in 28, earning PBC Player of the Week honors. On Saturday, she knocked down 6-of-8 from long range for a game-high 25, upping her career average in six games against CSU to 18.0 ppg. It was her eighth 20-point game this year, tying the entire total the Lady Pacers had in all of 2006-07.

USC Aiken came out hitting from three-point range, knocking down their first three triples to bolt to a 12-5 advantage on one of two free throws by Avonte Williams. Columbus State also settled in early, connected on 6-of-13 attempts, using a 10-2 spurt to take their only lead of the game 15-14 with 11:09 left in the first half.