Thursday, December 6, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. – Ronald Zimmerman finished with a career-high 34 points and the University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team snapped a short two-game losing streak with a 96-82 victory over Mount Olive at the Convocation Center on Thursday evening.
The victory allowed the Pacers to extend their school-record home regular-season winning streak to 18 straight games.
The win over Mount Olive also pulls USC Aiken eighth-year head men’s basketball coach Vince Alexander (128) to within just one game of tying Larry Epperley (1987-97) for the most coaching wins in Pacer men’s basketball history. Epperley ended his USC Aiken coaching career with 129 wins.
In a game that featured four lead changes and four ties, USC Aiken (3-2) pretty much controlled the first half, entering intermission with a 10-point 46-36 lead.
The first 12 minutes of the second stanza things would get a lot closer in the game with Mount Olive (1-5) taking its first lead of the second half at 68-67 with 8:08 remaining in the game.
The Trojans would then pull ahead by two at 72-70 with 7:15 left in the contest.
After a Jesse Seilern (Innsbruck, Austria/Kapfenberg HS) free throw pulled the Pacers to within one, Zimmerman placed the Pacers back on top, 74-72.
The Zimmerman trey would be a part of a final seven-minute stretch that would see the Pacers outscore the Trojans, 26-10.
Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley HS) was 7-for-12 from beyond the arc in the game in total. The seven 3-pointers tied a career-high that he originally set in USC Aiken’s home win over then 15th-ranked Winston-Salem State on Nov. 19.
Zimmerman, who was 10-for-15 from the field in total, also had five steals and one assist. He was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe.
Five Pacers in total finished in double figures.
Re’mon Nelson (Columbus, Ohio/Canal Winchester HS) ended his evening with 15 points, a game-high seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. He knocked down a career-best eight free throws in the game.
Santoine Butler (Augusta, Ga./Gardner-Webb) led a Pacer low post contingent that finished with 10 total blocks. Butler claimed five of the 10 blocks. He also had 14 points and five boards.
Paul Larsen (Mooresville, N.C./Mercer) finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Kinley Branch (Stone Mountain, Ga./Arkansas State) had 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Larsen and Branch both had two blocks each.
Darrell Patterson led Mount Olive in its loss with 22 points.
USC Aiken as a team shot 54 percent (27-for-50) from the field. Mount Olive ended its loss hitting on 41.7 percent (25-for-60) of its field goal attempts as a team.
The Pacers hit 52.4 percent (11-of-21) of their 3-point field goal attempts.
USC Aiken was 31-for-39 (79.5 percent) as a team from the free throw line.
The Pacers now have a week off to focus on exams. USC Aiken will next open its 2012-13 Peach Belt Conference campaign with a 7:30 p.m. game against UNC Pembroke at the Convocation Center on Saturday, Dec. 15.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press