USC-Aiken sweeps Armstrong Atlantic

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Saturday, January 31, 2009.

AIKEN, S.C. – The 14th-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken Pacers remained in a tie for first place in the Peach Belt Conference in their half of the PBC’s Separation Saturday with an 81-76 victory over No. 12 Armstrong Atlantic State before a Homecoming crowd of 3,035 fans at the Convocation Center.

Separation Saturday featured all four ranked teams in the NABC Division II poll from the Peach Belt Conference squaring off with No. 14 USC Aiken taking on No. 12 Armstrong Atlantic State and No. 24 Georgia College & State taking the hardwood at home against No. 7 Augusta State.

USC Aiken and GCSU remained tied for the PBC lead after Saturday’s game as the 24th-ranked Bobcats were able to defeat the seventh-ranked Jaguars inside their home arena on Saturday afternoon.

Both USC Aiken and GCSU now have identical 9-2 records in league play. Overall, USC Aiken is now 14-4 overall. GCSU is 15-2 overall.

The win on Saturday keeps the Pacers perfect during the regular season in their home arena. USC Aiken is now 21-0 at the Convocation Center during the regular season since the facility opened its doors prior to the 2007-08 season. The Pacers are an unscathed 15-0 against PBC teams during the regular season in their home arena.

In Saturday’s top 15 showdown with Armstrong Atlantic State, the Pacers were led by four players in double figures.

Kingsley Oguchi (Houston, Texas/George Bush) paced USC Aiken on Saturday, scoring a team-high 20 points and corralling a team-best eight rebounds. The senior guard was 5-for-9 from the floor in the victory, hitting on three 3-pointers in the victory. Oguchi was a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe in the game.

Oguchi’s 20 points in the game moved him to within 12 points of joining the 1,000-point club at USC Aiken. He now has 988 career points and he would become the seventh member of the illustrious club.

Fellow Pacer guard Javonte Clanton (Columbus, Ohio/Blinn College) finished just behind Oguchi with 18 points. Clanton only hit three field goals in the win, but he hit a number of crucial free throws down the stretch to preserve the Pacer victory. Clanton was 11-for-14 from the free throw line overall with the vast majority of his free throw attempts coming in the final minutes of the game.

Clanton also had seven assists in the win.

Josh Dollard (Hemingway, S.C./Hemingway) came off the bench to score 12 points for USC Aiken, while Chris Commons (Toledo, Ohio/Findlay) came in just behind Dollard with 10 points and seven rebounds. Commons was 5-for-9 from the floor in the victory.

Commons, who was honored prior to starting lineup introductions on Saturday for joining the prestigious 1,000-point club at USC Aiken in the win over UNC Pembroke on Wednesday, concluded the win over AASU with a career-high tying four blocks.

Armstrong Atlantic State was led in its loss to the Pacers by Brian Moultrie, who had a game-high 22 points. Moultrie hit 10 free throws in the contest and knocked down six of his 10 attempts from the field.

The Pacers shot just over five percent worse from the field than the Pirates, connecting on 41.5 percent of their shots. AASU in turn hit 46.7 percent of their attempts from the field. USC Aiken held a decided advantage from the charity stripe, securing a team 73.2 percent effort from the charity stripe. AASU shot just 65.2 percent from the free throw line in the game.

The game was played tight in all facets on Saturday with the contest staying in single digits for most of the game. USC Aiken had the largest lead of the game at 12 at the 6:55 mark of the first half.

The contest would be tied a grand total of seven times with the game also switching hands a total of seven times.

The Pacers pulled away in the end though through timely free throw shooting by Clanton and Sterling Council (Camden, S.C./Camden). A freshman free throw specialist who had not missed a free throw in his career prior to Saturday’s win over AASU, Council hit three of his four free throw attempts on Saturday to help solidify the Pacer victory.

USC Aiken has now beaten the 12th-ranked ranked Pirates twice in the 2008-09 season as they also downed AASU, 73-68, in Savannah, Ga. on Dec. 6, 2008.

AIKEN, S.C. –The No. 23 USC Aiken Lady Pacers downed Peach Belt Conference foe Armstrong Atlantic State, 60-56, on Homecoming night at USC Aiken on Saturday in the Convocation Center.

The Lady Pacers (16-5, 8-3 PBC) have now won nine of their last 11 games to begin 2009.

Reigning PBC Player of the Week Morgan Johnson picked up right where she left off last week, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to lead USCA on the night.

The senior forward was eight of 10 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. She knocked down two clutch free throws with six seconds left to seal the victory for USCA.

AASU jumped out to a nine-point lead just under eight minutes into the game on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range. The Lady Pacers never wavered and stormed back to take a 34-31 lead into halftime.

The Lady Pacers dominated inside for much of the night, outscoring AASU 38-16 in the paint and getting 23 points off of 20 Lady Pirate turnovers. USCA collected 12 steals as a team in the game.

Kendra Chandler came off the bench for head coach Mike Brandt and added 10 points to go along with seven boards. USCA’s bench scoring tripled AASU by a 21-7 margin.

The Lady Pacers hit 21-of-50 shots from the floor, including an uncharacteristic 1-of-16 from beyond the arc. Brandt’s squad made up for their struggles from downtown by connecting on 17-of-20 from the charity stripe.

The opportunistic Lady Pacers also doubled up AASU on second-chance points, 14-7.

USCA remains in a three-way tie for second place in the PBC at 8-3. The Lady Pacers, along with Clayton State and GCSU, trail Francis Marion by a game and a half in the PBC.

The Lady Pacers are the only team to defeat the 15-1 Lady Patriots of Francis Marion this season.