Pacer men fall in OT, Lady Pacers win by 9

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Saturday, February 28, 2009.

AIKEN, S.C. – The 11th-ranked USC Aiken Pacers fell 73-72 in overtime to Georgia College & State on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center.

Pacer All-American Chris Commons (Toledo, Ohio/Findlay) had a chance to win the game for USC Aiken in the final seconds of overtime, but his three-point attempt hit the front rim and the Pacers were not able to tip it back in to give the Bobcats the heartbreaking one-point win.

Georgia College’s Ty Rowland hit the game-winning shot for GCSU with 16 seconds left when he drove down the left of the lane and calmly laid the ball in with his left hand for the eventual game-winning shot.

The loss drops ends an amazing 27-game regular season home winning streak for the Pacers. USC Aiken had entered the game 27-0 during the regular inside the Convocation Center since the facility opened its doors prior to the 2007-08 season. The Pacers were 19-0 against PBC teams during the stretch.

The Pacers have now lost twice in the building with both of their losses inside the friendly confines of the Convocation Center coming in overtime. USC Aiken’s first ever loss in the Convocation Center was during the 2008 Peach Belt Conference Championship game. The Pacers dropped a three-overtime game to the Lakers.

The Pacers, who were trying to claim their second consecutive PBC regular season crown on Saturday, now enter this year’s Peach Belt Conference Tournament at the Convocation Center as the second seed in the event.

The Pacers will play the winner of the #7 Clayton State-#10 Georgia Southwestern game at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 6. The Lakers and Hurricanes will play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 at the Convocation Center to earn the right to face the Pacers.

USC Aiken with a win on Saturday over GCSU would have tied rival Augusta State for regular season championship supremacy in the league.

The Pacers still end the year a stout 21-6. USC Aiken was 16-4 in the PBC during the regular season.

USC Aiken had already captured its second consecutive 20-win season earlier in the year. The two straight 20-win seasons obtained by USC Aiken over the last two years marks the first two straight 20-win seasons in program history in almost 20 years.

The Pacers 48 wins over the past two years is already a school record.

Josh Dollard (Hemingway, S.C./Auburn) just missed out on his fifth consecutive double-double in the loss to GCSU, finishing with 26 points and eight rebounds. The reigning Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week was 11-for-15 from the floor in the game. He also had one block.

Commons and Casey McMasters (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) were the other two Pacers in the game in double figures. McMasters had a season-high 13 in the game, while Commons finished with 11.

Commons concluded the game with two blocks, tying teammate Brian Egwuatu (Houston, Texas/Texas Southern) for game-high honors with GCSU’s Reece Wiedeman.

AIKEN, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Aiken won its 500th game as a program and vaulted up two spots in the Peach Belt Conference to claim sole possession of third place heading into the PBC Tournament with a 67-58 victory over Georgia College and State in the last game of the regular season on Senior Night in the Convocation Center.

Senior Pacers Megan Starnes (Riley, Kan./ Riley County HS), Meredith Legg (Huntersville, N.C./ Hopewell HS), Satu Leppanen (Lahti, Finland/ Salpausselan Lukio HS) and Morgan Johnson (Marietta, Ga./ Presbyterian) played their final regular season games in a Pacer uniform in front of over 1,200 fans capping off USC Aiken’s third straight season of 20 or more wins.

It is the first time in school history USC Aiken has had three consecutive 20-win seasons.

USC Aiken (20-10, 12-8 PBC) head coach Mike Brandt collected win No. 123 for his Pacer career in the milestone victory for the program in his seventh season at the helm of the Pacer program in Saturday’s victory over GCSU.

Two-time PBC Player-of-the-Week Morgan Johnson finished with another double-double in the contest, grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with 11 points, five assists and three blocks.

Johnson is already the all-time leader in blocked shots at USCA and added three more swats to continue to push the mark further. Johnson now has 132 blocks.

Fellow senior Meredith Legg, also a two-time PBC Player-of-the-Week, became just the 14th player in NCAA Division II history to make 300 or more career three-pointers earlier this week in USC Aiken’s game against Clayton State.

Legg connected from downtown four times in Saturday night’s Pacer win on her way to a team-high 16 points. The four three-pointers left her with a school and conference record 305 three-pointers.

Entering the GCSU game in second place on the all-time scoring list at USCA, Legg is now just 24 points shy of becoming the most prolific scorer to wear a Pacer women’s basketball uniform.