Alexander ties USCA all-time wins mark in Pacers victory

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. – Re’mon Nelson led five players in double figures as the University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team commenced its 2012-13 Peach Belt Conference campaign with a 86-79 victory over UNC Pembroke at the Convocation Center.

The victory allowed USC Aiken (4-2, 1-0 PBC) eighth-year head men’s basketball coach Vince Alexander to tie Larry Epperley (1987-97) for the most wins in program history. Both Alexander and Epperley now have 129 wins at the helm of the USC Aiken men’s basketball program.

Alexander is presently 129-87 as the Pacer mentor. He is 218-151 in his 14 years as a head coach overall.

In a game that featured two lead changes and four ties, USC Aiken controlled most of the action. The Pacers led by as many as 16 in the first half before entering halftime with a four-point 43-39 lead.

UNC Pembroke (6-4, 0-1 PBC) would take the lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the game at 59-58. They would then go ahead by five at 63-58.

From there, USC Aiken would outscore the Braves 28-16 the rest of the way to emerge with the seven-point win.

Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Canal Winchester HS) was the catalyst for the Pacers down the stretch. The Pacer senior point guard would score 21 of his game-high 25 points in the contest in the second half.

Nelson concluded the Pacer win 9-for-11 from the field overall. He was 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the game.

Nelson also had six assists, four steals and four rebounds. The four steals leave him with 157 steals in his career. He is now just six steals away from overtaking Kingsley Oguchi (2005-09) for the most steals in USC Aiken men’s basketball history.

Santoine Butler (Augusta, Ga./Gardner-Webb) was right behind Nelson with 18 points and seven rebounds. He was 8-for-13 from the field in the game.

Paul Larsen (Mooresville, N.C./Mercer) concluded his efforts on Saturday evening with 13 points and seven rebounds. He was 4-of-6 from the field and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe.

Reigning Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week Ronald Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS) ended his night with 11 points. He was 4-for-6 from the field in the game. He knocked down three 3-pointers.

Kinley Branch (Stone Mountain, Ga./Arkansas State) was the final Pacer in double figures with 11 points. He also had six rebounds. Branch was 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Shahmel Brackett led four Braves in double figures with 19 points.

USC Aiken closed out the win over UNC Pembroke shooting 55.4 percent (31-for-56) from the field as a team. The Braves connected on 42.7 percent (32-for-75) of its shots as a team.

One of the stories of the game was at the free throw line where USC Aiken was 20-for-24 (83.3 percent).

UNC Pembroke was just 11-for-24 (45.8 percent) from the free throw line in the game.

USC Aiken will next hit the road to face off against Peach Belt Conference foe Francis Marion in Florence, S.C. on Monday, Dec. 17. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.

The Pacers will then return home to square off against CSRA foe Paine at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

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