USC-Aiken Men and Women Beat Columbus State

By: Staff Reports
By: Staff Reports

Saturday, January 17, 2009.

MEN
AIKEN, S.C. – Senior forward Brian Egwuatu recorded his first double-double of the 2008-09 season and No. 10 USC Aiken picked up a 91-78 win over visiting Columbus State before 2,173 fans on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center.

The Pacers victory improved them 10-3 overall and 5-1 in Peach Belt Conference action entering their rivalry revenge game against No. 7 Augusta State at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19 at the Convocation Center.

The victory also helped USC Aiken stay perfect during the regular season at the Convocation Center since moving into the building prior to the start of the 2007-08 campaign. The win on Saturday left USC Aiken 19-0 during the regular season over the last two years in its home arena. The Pacers are a perfect 13-0 against league foes inside the Convocation Center during the regular season.

Egwuatu (Houston, Texas/Texas Southern) was one of five Pacers in double figures in the win over the Cougars. Egwuatu in total ended his efforts with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also had two assists and career-high tying four blocks.

Starting for the fifth consecutive game, Egwuautu was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field with two of his field goals coming on dunks, including one on a perfectly executed alley-oop from Javonte Clanton (Columbus, Ohio/Blinn).

Clanton led all players in the game with a career-high tying 24 points. Clanton was 8-for-12 overall from the floor in the game. He was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Guard Kingsley Oguchi (Houston, Texas/George Bush) concluded the game tied with Clanton for team-high honors with four treys. Oguchi was 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.

Oguchi also dished out eight assists and had four steals in the win over Columbus State.

Chris Commons (Toledo, Ohio/Findlay) and Josh Dollard (Hemingway, S.C./Auburn) rounded out the Pacers in double figures in the game. Commons hit seven shots en route to 17 points, while Dollard shot 50 percent (6-for-12) from the field to collect 14 points off the bench for the Pacers.

Columbus State had four players in double figures in the loss with Nick Gagnon leading the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Gagnon hit seven of his 10 shots to tally the double-double.

The Pacers never trailed in the win over the Cougars, leading by as many 19 points in the latter minutes of the first half.

Overall, USC Aiken shot 48.4 percent (31-for-64) from the field in the game, while Columbus State shot 42.6 percent (26-for-61).

WOMEN
AIKEN, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Aiken women’s basketball team won its sixth consecutive game on Saturday by downing Peach Belt Conference foe Columbus State, 76-62, before 1,508 fans at the Convocation Center on Saturday evening.

The victory improves the Pacers to 13-3 overall. USC Aiken is 5-1 in Peach Belt Conference action entering their rivalry showdown with Augusta State at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19 at the Convocation Center.

No. 18 USC Aiken now has two six-game winning streaks in the 2008-09 season. The Pacers opened their current campaign by claiming a victory in their first six games.

The Pacers are also now a perfect 8-0 at home in 2008-09, extending their regular season home winning streak to 15 games. The streak includes nine straight wins over PBC foes at the Convocation Center.

Morgan Johnson (Marietta, Ga./Presbyterian College) and Megan Starnes (Riley, Kan./Riley County) led the Pacer charge in the win over the Cougars with both players ending the night tied for team-high honors with 16 points.

Johnson was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the game. She only missed three shots overall from the floor in the contest as well, knocking down five of her eight shot attempts.

The senior forward also had seven boards and four blocks in the contest. Johnson’s four blocks in the game helped her to take sole possession of third place all-time in school history in career blocks.

Johnson entered the game tied with Nola Grant (2004-07) and Christale Spain (1994-98) for third place with 88 blocks. Her 92 career swats after the Columbus State win leave her just 28 blocks away from breaking Charita Sims’ (1990-92) school record of 119 blocks.

Johnson’s current block total and the chance that she could obtain the record is made even more impressive by the fact that she would achieve the record in just two years in the program. Johnson’s first year at USC Aiken was just last year as she transferred to Mike Brandt’s program after two years at Presbyterian College.

Johnson’s currently tally of 92 blocks gives her 130 career blocks overall if her first two years at PC are included.

Starnes shot 50 percent (5-for-10) from the field in the victory over the Cougars. She was a perfect 3-for-3 from the free throw line.

Her 16 points helped her end the game with 916 career points, leaving her just 84 points shy of joining the illustrious USC Aiken 1,000-point club. She would be the seventh USCA player to accomplish the feat.

Columbus State had two players in double figures in the loss to USC Aiken. Rosetta Hollis guided the Cougar attack with a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds.

USC Aiken shot over 50 percent as a team in the win over Columbus State, while the Cougars ended the night shooting just 39.3 percent.


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