Pacers men blast Pirates, 92-67

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. – The regionally top-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team claimed a dominating 92-67 Peach Belt Conference victory over Armstrong on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center.

The victory allows USC Aiken (18-6, 14-3 PBC) to remain in complete control for the race for the Peach Belt Conference regular-season crown. The Pacers can win the league championship outright for the second straight year with a victory over rival Augusta State on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Convocation Center.

Winners of nine of its last 10, USC Aiken led by as many as 32 points in its dismantling of Armstrong (13-11, 9-8 PBC).

The Peach Belt Conference East Division-leading Pacers entered halftime with a 21-point lead at 50-29. In the second half, USC Aiken outscored the Pirates, 42-38.

Four Pacers finished in double figures in the win with two recording over 20 points.

Paul Larsen (Mooresville, N.C./Mercer) ended his evening with a game-high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and one block. Larsen was 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the game. He was a perfect 8-for-8 from the field.

The national leader in 3-pointers made per game, Ronald Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS) nailed seven 3-pointers in the win over Armstrong to finish with 21 points.

Kinley Branch (Stone Mountain, Ga./Arkansas State) and Santoine Butler (Augusta, Ga./Gardner-Webb) were the final two Pacers in double figures with each collecting 10 points. Branch also had seven caroms, while Butler had four rebounds and three assists.

Antroine Williford led two Pirates in double figures with 14 points. The Pacers held Peach Belt Conference leading scorer Aric Miller of Armstrong to just seven points.

USC Aiken ended the resounding victory over Armstrong shooting 45.1 percent (32-for-71) as a team. The Pacers hit 35.1 percent (13-for-37) of their 3-point attempts as a team. USC Aiken shot 71.4 percent (15-of-21) as a team at the free throw line.

Armstrong closed out its loss to USC Aiken shooting 44.6 percent (25-for-56) as a team. The Pirates hit just 23.1 percent (3-for-13) of their 3-point attempts as a squad. Armstrong shot just 58.3 percent (14-for-24) from the free throw line as a team.

The USC Aiken-Augusta State game is part of a doubleheader on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Convocation Center.

The women’s game is set to commence at 5:30 p.m. The men’s game will tip-off after the conclusion of the women’s contest at approximately 7:30 p.m. It will be Senior Day at the Convocation Center.

The USC Aiken athletic department is asking Pacer fans to wear Cardinal and/or Navy Pacer shirts in support of USC Aiken that evening.

The rivalry game is being sponsored by Master Chevrolet, Aiken Staffing and the Chandler Law Offices.

The evening will feature one of the biggest promotions in the history of the Convocation Center with Master Chevrolet offering one lucky fan a chance to win a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze during the men’s halftime. The lucky fan will have to knock down a shot from half-court to claim the car.

The USC Aiken-Augusta State doubleheader will be Faculty Staff Appreciation Night at the Convocation Center. The Pacer dance team will also give another special performance over the course of the evening.

During the final regular-season doubleheader of the year, the USC Aiken advancement office will also be raising money for the endowed scholarships for fallen Aiken Department of Public Safety Officers Scotty Richardson and Sandy Rogers. The Sandy Rogers and Scotty Richardson Memorial Scholarship will go to a USC Aiken student majoring in sociology.

During the first media time out after the 15-minute mark of the men’s basketball game, a bucket will be passed around for individuals to donate to this worthy cause.

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