Sunday, March 10, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ga. – Back-to-back Peach Belt Conference regular-season champion USC Aiken men’s basketball completed the 2012-13 league sweep on Sunday afternoon with a 65-60 league tournament championship win over Montevallo at the Lumpkin Center.
The tournament championship is the third in program history (1993, 2010 and 2013). USC Aiken has now defeated Montevallo in the tournament championship game in 2010 and 2013.
The 2013 Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship continues a tremendous run for the Pacers over the past six years. Since the 2007-08 season, USC Aiken has claimed three league regular-season championships (2007-08, 2011-12 and 2012-13) and two tournament titles (2010 and 2013).
After claiming the league’s automatic bid with the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship, the Pacers have now advanced to the NCAA Tournament in five out of the last six years. The Pacers advanced to the NCAA Division II “Sweet Sixteen” in 2009.
USC Aiken entered the halftime break down by four at 31-27.
Montevallo commenced the second half on a 10-0 spurt to own a 41-27 lead with 16:04 to play in the game.
USC Aiken would not be deterred though with the Pacers going on a 20-4 run to take a 47-45 lead with 9:39 remaining in the contest.
The two teams would battle back and forth over the next nine minutes with the Pacers clinging to a 61-60 lead with 35 seconds to play in the game.
That would be as close as the Falcons would get with DeVontae Wright (Goose Creek, S.C./The Citadel) and Kinley Branch (Stone Mountain, Ga./Arkansas State) both connecting on two free throws each over the course of the rest of the game in the Pacer four-point win.
Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year and Peach Belt Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player Re’mon Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Canal Winchester HS) led the Pacers in the game with 20 points. Nelson once again put on a clinic in the second half as he scored 16 of his 20 points in the game in the final stanza.
Nelson also had four assists and one steal in the game. He was 9-for-11 at the free throw line in the game.
Nelson’s four assists in the contest allowed him to become the all-time leader in Peach Belt Conference history in assists. Nelson now has 497 assists in his four-year Pacer career.
Three Pacers finished in double figures in the game in total with Branch finishing just behind Nelson with 16 points. Branch also had four rebounds and one block in the Pacer win.
Peach Belt Conference All-Tournament choice Ronald Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS) was the final Pacer in double figures with 12 points. The national leader in 3-pointers made per game had three treys in the game.
Three Falcons ended their efforts in double figures with Troran Brown leading the way with 17 points.
As a team, USC Aiken closed out its championship victory shooting 36 percent (18-for-50). The Pacers connected on 77.8 percent (21-for-27) of their free throw attempts as a team in the game.
Montevallo closed out its loss to USC Aiken shooting 40.3 percent (25-for-62) as a team. The Falcons hit just 55.6 percent (5-of-9) of their free throw attempts as a team.