Saturday, March 9, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Peach Belt Conference regular-season champion/East No. 1 University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team claimed a thrilling 88-85 overtime victory over West No. 2 North Georgia in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament semifinals on Saturday evening at the Lumpkin Center.
With the win, the Pacers advance to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game for the first time since winning the league tournament in 2010. USC Aiken will face the winner of West No. 1 Montevallo/East No. 2 UNC Pembroke game in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Men’s Basketball championship game at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.
USC Aiken (21-7) has now advanced to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game in four of the last six years (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013). The Pacers enter the 2013 Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship game with two league tournament crowns (1993 and 2010).
North Georgia (16-12) led by nine points at 76-67 with 4:14 to play in regulation.
Behind Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year Re’mon Nelson, the Pacers would then proceed to go on a 12-3 run to tie the game at 79-all with eight seconds remaining. Nelson knocked down two critical 3-pointers during the stretch.
North Georgia’s Scott Windom would then turn the basketball over on the Saints’ next possession to give the Pacers a chance to win in regulation. Nelson’s attempt would just rim out to send the game into the extra frame.
USC Aiken outscored North Georgia, 9-6, in the overtime period to claim the three-point victory.
All five Pacer starters finished in double figures in the game with Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Canal Winchester HS) leading the way with 24 points, three assists and two steals. Nelson secured 20 of his 24 points in the second half and overtime period.
Both Santoine Butler (Augusta, Ga./Gardner-Webb) and Paul Larsen (Mooresville, N.C./Mercer) concluded USC Aiken’s overtime victory with double-doubles.
Butler ended his efforts in the game with 16 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. He also had four blocks. The double-double was the fifth of the year for Butler.
Larsen finished the game with 10 points and 13 rebounds. The double-double was his team-best 11th of the year.
USC Aiken’s Jesse Seilern (Innsbruck, Austria/Kapfenberg HS) concluded the Pacer victory with 18 points, four rebounds, five steals and two assists.
The final Pacer in double figures, Ronald Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS) knocked down four 3-pointers en route to 14 points.
Four Saints ended in double figures in the game with Travis Core leading the way with 21 points.
USC Aiken as a team closed out its win over North Georgia shooting 45.6 percent (26-for-57) from the field. The Pacers connected on 85.3 percent (29-for-34) of their free throw attempts as a team in the contest.
North Georgia shot 42.3 percent (30-for-71) from the field as a team in the game. The Saints shot 72.7 percent (16-of-22) from the free throw line in the game.