Pacers win and advance to Peach Belt final four

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Friday March 6, 2009

AIKEN, S.C. -- In a low-scoring rematch of the 2008 Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Tournament Championship game, second seed and national No. 17 USC Aiken avenged last year’s loss with a quarterfinal victory over seven seed Clayton State University tonight (March 6) 60-50.

The host school, USCA improves to 22-6, advancing to play third seed Armstrong Atlantic State University tomorrow at 8 p.m. in the semifinals. The Lakers see their season come to a close at 15-14.

PBC Player of the Year Chris Commons went just 5-for-12 from the floor, including 1-of-5 from downtown, but finished with 17 points and six rebounds to lead the way for the Pacers before fouling out. Guard Kingsley Oguchi helped with 12 points.

The Lakers also had two double-figure scorers, as Bernard Fields had 15 with supersub Will Lewis adding 12 and six rebounds off the pine.

The hustle points all went Clayton’s way, as they took points in the paint (22-18), points off turnovers (13-8) and second-chance points (11-7). The difference came in a slight shooting advantage for the Pacers at 37.8 percent (17-45) to 31.3 (15-48), combined with a slow start for the Lakers.

The early going was all Pacers, as they held Clayton scoreless for the first 3:01. The Lakers failed to hit a field goal until the 9:07 mark in the half, when Lewis knocked down a drop-step lay-in from the left side and the Pacers led 12-3.

Lewis provided a slight spark to ignite the Laker offense, as Clayton went on a 15-11 run over the remainder of the first half, closing down 23-18.

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