Monday Feb. 2, 2009
AIKEN, S.C. – Brian Egwuatu corralled a career high 15 rebounds and No. 14 USC Aiken avenged last year’s season-ending loss to Clayton State with a 69-54 Peach Belt Conference victory over the Lakers before a crowd of 2,051 on Monday evening at the Convocation Center.
The Pacers lost in triple overtime to Clayton State in the championship game of the 2008 Peach Belt Conference Tournament at the Convocation Center and then followed that up by falling to the Lakers in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional. Monday’s victory did not fully erase the two loses to the Lakers last season, but it did give the Pacers remaining from last year some semblance of closure.
Nevertheless, the Pacers still have to play the Lakers one more time in the 2008-09 regular season as the two will meet once again on Wednesday, Feb. 25 in Morrow, Ga.
The victory over the Lakers on Monday also ensured that the Pacers would remain in first place in the Peach Belt Conference with Georgia College & State. The Bobcats kept pace with a 91-70 victory over UNC Pembroke on Monday evening.
Both USC Aiken and GCSU have identical 10-2 PBC records currently. USC Aiken is 15-4 overall.
Egwuatu (Houston, Texas/Texas Southern) just missed out on his second double-double of the year in the win over Clayton State. He also picked up nine points and three blocks to go along with the 15 caroms.
His three blocks tied him with teammate Chris Commons (Toledo, Ohio/Findlay) for game-high honors. The 2007-08 PBC Co-Player of the Year did not have his best scoring game though in the win over Clayton State, scoring a career-low three points. He brought down three rebounds.
Commons’ USC Aiken teammates stepped up to fill in for the massive scoring load that Commons usually undertakes in Pacer games. Fellow senior Cordaryl Ballard (Westerville, Ohio/Morehead State) scored 13 in the game, while Pacer newcomer Javonte Clanton (Columbus, Ohio/Blinn) posted a game-high tying 19 points.
In the women's game, it was the visiting Lakers winning 55-49. Morgan Johnson, the reigning conference player of the week tallied 21 points while grabbing 16 rebounds in the losing effort.
The Lady Pacers fall to 8 and 4 in the conference, 16 and 6 overall.
Both Pacer teams are at Francis Marion on Wednesday.