Jan. 18, 2014 AIKEN, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team overcame an 11-point deficit en route to an 86-78 victory over visiting Young Harris in a Peach Belt Conference Contest Saturday evening.
The No. 15 Pacers improved to 14-2 on the season, including a 6-0 mark against league foes.
Senior Alvin Brown, who leads Division II in blocks, registered 10 in the contest. He garnered seven in the first half, including four before the first media time-out.
DeVontae Wright poured in a game-high 21 points for the victory, in addition to chipping in five boards and a game-best four assists. Ronald Zimmerman added 16 points and Rick Alderman came off the bench to account for 10 markers along with five rebounds. Jesse Seilern chipped in nine points while Santoine Butler and Paul Larsen had seven each. Larsen also pulled down a game-high 12 boards.
The Pacers canned 28-of-62 shots from the floor (45.2 percent), compared to 27-of-70 (38.6 percent) for the visitors. USC Aiken held a 43-38 advantage on the glass and a 12-8 margin in assists. Head coach Vince Alexander’s team managed to tally 26 points off the bench compared to 15 for the Mountain Lions.
The teams battled back-and-forth in the early going as the score was tied at 10 just 4:26 into the game. However, Young Harris took a 20-6 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the first period.
USC fought back, tying the contest at 26 on a lay-up by Seilern, but after another tie at 28, the Mountain Lions embarked on an 8-1 run for a 36-29 lead with 3:07 to play. With just 15 seconds before intermission, C.J. Wilson’s runner in the lane gave the visitors a 48-37 lead at break.
The Pacers went on a 6-0 run to start the second period, slicing the deficit to five at 43-38. During the run, Alderman converted an old-fashioned three-point play before Seilern stepped back to drill a three-pointer.
Young Harris pushed the lead back to double figures at 57-46, but Larsen’s free throw cut the margin to single digits. The bucket sparked another run by the home team.
Alderman hit a lay-up and Wright stepped back for a fade-away jumper before Wright found Brown for a dunk on a spectacular lob, making the score 57-54 in favor of the visitors.
Trailing 61-54, Zimmerman hit a base-line jumper with 12:21 to play. Neither team could find the basket until the 8:40 mark when Wright hit a three-pointer off an assist by Alderman. After a miss by Young Harris, Wright’s jumper knotted the contest at 61.
After another tie at the 3:39 mark, the Mountain Lions clawed their way to a one-point advantage. However, Wright’s jumper with 3:22 to go put the home team ahead for good.
Zimmerman quickly answered with a three-pointer on the wing for a 76-72 lead. Leading 76-74, Alderman’s lay-up and Larsen’s inside shot gave the team an 80-74 advantage.
Ahead by four at 82-78, the Mountain Lions were whistled for an intentional foul and Brown calmly delivered both free throws for his double-double. Zimmerman added a pair of charity tosses for the final margin.
The Pacers return to action Monday at 7:30 p.m., when they host North Georgia.