GREENWOOD, S.C. - The University of South Carolina Aiken men's basketball team lost an 88-83 contest at Lander Saturday afternoon.
The Pacers are now 12-8 on the year and 8-2 in league play. The Bearcats are 14-4 overall and 8-2 in the PBC.
Head coach Mark Vanderslice's team was led by Xzavier Barmore and Gus Rowland as each shared game-high honors by netting 20 points apiece. Barmore added seven boards while Rowland distributed a game-best five assists.
Faison Brock added 19 points and five boards while Robert Hill narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Shaquan Jules tallied 10 points and six boards.
USC Aiken trailed 42-27 at the break, but the squad embarked on a 26-8 run over the first 6:14 of the second half to take a 53-50 lead. Down 46-36, Barmore buried a three-point basket. Brock corralled a rebound and made the put-back, slicing the deficit to five. Barmore stole the ball and converted an old-fashioned three-point play to pull the team within two at 46-44.
Trailing 50-47, Hill made an inside shot. On the ensuing possession, Hill grabbed the defensive board which led to a Barmore lay-up and a 51-50 lead. Barmore hit a pair of free throws at the 13:46 mark to take a three-point edge.
Tied at 57-57, Jules snagged an offensive rebounds and made an inside shot to go up two with 8:59 to play. With the score tied at 59-59, Jules grabbed another board and made a lay-up for a 61-59 advantage.
After a 6-0 spurt by Lander, Brock's charity tosses pulled the visitors within two at 65-63. The Bearcats scored the next four points, but Dhieu Deing made two free throws to cut the deficit to four with 4:26 to play.
Lander increased the margin to eight on multiple occasions, but a three-point basket by Rowland pulled USC Aiken within four at 84-80 with 26 seconds to go. However, Lander made its free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.
For the game, USC Aiken hit 32-of-76 from the floor (42.1 percent). The team connected on 10-of-12 from the charity stripe (83.3 percent). Vanderslice's squad blocked six shots.
The Pacers return to action Wednesday when they host Augusta at 7:30 p.m. Live stats and video will be available at PacerSports.com.