Pacer men’s basketball compete for NCAA Elite 8 bid

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:43 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The USC Aiken men’s basketball team is the only Peach Belt team standing in the Division II NCAA tournament, and they’re playing in the Sweet 16.

The Pacers arrived at Christenberry Fieldhouse at 5:30 p.m. for their matchup against Lincoln Memorial.

This is the first time the pacers have made it out of the second round under the leadership of Head Coach Mark Vanderslice, since the 2013-14 season.

They advanced to the Sweet 16 by pulling off the upset against their longtime rival, the Augusta University Jaguars, for the third time this season.

In a season where USC Aiken earned the title of co-Peach Belt Conference regular season wins, racked up 24 wins, and reached the Southeast Region final, the Pacers came up short of Lincoln Memorial, 89 to 83.

When they were down by double digits in the closing minutes, the Pacers stood their ground and fought until the clock hit zero. Pacers fans gave their team a standing ovation when they walked off the floor with hopes of being able to grow what they built this season.

We stopped by the Pacers practice ahead of this big game, and the players we spoke with said they’ve felt a noticeable change in their development, team chemistry, and confidence since their last matchup against Lincoln Memorial, and they’re excited to hit the court with a shot at moving one step closer to a national championship.

We met with Head Coach Mark Vanderslice about how much the competition in conference play against teams like Augusta and North Georgia prepared them for Tuesday’s game.

The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the Elite 8 on March 21 in Evansville, Indiana.