Tuesday, March 19, 2013
AIKEN, S.C. – The nationally 20th-ranked and top-seeded University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team defeated the third seed, Barton College, 82-75, in the 2013 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Championship.
The victory allows the Pacers to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. The Pacers will travel to Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., to begin the Elite Eight on Thursday, March 28. USC Aiken will face Midwest Region champion Drury in the Elite Eight at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.
The game was tight throughout with nine ties and six lead changes in the contest.
The Pacers never trailed in the second half of the game after taking their final lead with nine seconds remaining in the first period from a 3-pointer by All-Regional selection Ronald Zimmerman. The three gave USC Aiken a 39-37 lead going into the break.
Barton tied the game for the final time with 10:02 remaining in the game at 57-57 off of a steal and layup by Jon Hart.
USC Aiken answered with a 10-2 run over the next almost three minutes to take a 67-59 lead with 7:03 left to play in the contest. Santoine Butler scored six of the 10 points in the run.
The Bulldogs would cut the lead to three points with 40 seconds left, but a Zimmerman dagger from long range with only 10 seconds remaining would push the lead back to six. The Pacers would add a free throw to post the final at 82-75.
Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS) would lead four Pacers in double figures with 24 points in the victory. The nation’s leader in 3-pointers made per game, Zimmerman was 8-for-10 from long range to tie his career high for made 3-point field goals in a game.
Butler (Augusta, Ga./Gardner-Webb) chipped in 16 points by shooting 7-for-10 from the field. Butler also grabbed a game-high nine boards to finish just shy of a double-double.
Region Most Outstanding Player Re’mon Nelson just missed out on a double-double as well with 13 points, nine assists and three steals. Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Canal Winchester HS) added another award to his shelf to go along with the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Year and Peach Belt Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player awards.
Nelson also became the program’s second-leading scorer all-time in the game, passing Chris Commons. Nelson now has scored 1,235 points in his Pacer career. He also owns the school’s all-time steals record and the Peach Belt Conference all-time assist record.
Paul Larsen (Mooresville, N.C./Mercer) was the final Pacer with a double-figure scoring total for USC Aiken, chipping in 10 points. Jesse Seilern (Innsbruck, Austria/Kapfenberg HS) stuffed the scorebook again with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
All-Regional selection Gerald Boston led three Bulldogs in double figures with 23 points and nine assist. Boston was the leading scorer in the Southeast Regional, and shot 7-for-15 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line.
Another All-Regional selection, Keith Manley scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. Hart was the final Bulldog in double figures with 13 points and seven boards.
The Pacers started out shooting poorly, missing seven of their first nine shots to put them at a ten-point deficit, 17-7, at the second media timeout.
USC Aiken was able to turn it around by making nine of their next 12 shots to tie the game at 35-all at the final media timeout with 3:37 left in the first half. The tie came from a trey by Nelson with 3:54 left in the half.
Boston was the only player in double figures in the first half, scoring 14 points. Zimmerman led the Pacers at the break with nine points, and Nelson had seven points and five assists.
USC Aiken finished the game connecting on 54.7 percent (29-for-53) of their shots from the floor. The Pacers shot 52.4 percent (11-for-21) from long range and 72.2 percent (13-for-18) from the charity stripe in the victory.
Barton shot 47.5 percent (28-for-59) from the field in the game, including 50 percent (8-for-16) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs finished shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) from the foul line.
NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Southeast Region All-Regional Team
Most Outstanding Player: Re'mon Nelson, Guard, USC Aiken
Ronald Zimmerman, Guard, USC Aiken
Gerald Boston, Guard, Barton
Keith Manley, Forward, Barton
Odell Turner, Forward, Wingate
2013 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Southeast Regional Official Website: http://www.pacersports.com/sports/mbkb/2012-13/releases/southeastregional