AIKEN, S.C. – The No. 10 University of South Carolina Aiken men's basketball team registered an 81-76 victory over Georgia Southwestern in a huge Peach Belt Conference contest Wednesday evening.
The Pacers are now 22-3 overall and 15-1 against conference competition.
DeVontae Wright and Ronald Zimmerman each accounted for a team-high 17 points. Wright added a game-high six assists and a game-best four assists. Jesse Seilern netted 15 markers while Paul Larsen narrowly missed out on a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. He also contributed three assists.
USC Aiken canned 43.3 percent of its shots from the floor, but made 80 percent of its charity tosses. The team held a 39-34 advantage on the glass and distributed 13 assists compared to nine by the visitors. The Pacers held an 8-6 advantage in blocks and assists.
Head coach Vince Alexander's team rallied from deficits in both periods, but trailed by 11 with just 10:23 to play.
The squad fought back, slicing the deficit to nine on a lay-up by Wright at the 9:22 mark. Down by eight, Larsen trimmed the margin to five at 8:20 on an old-fashioned three-point play.
With the score 65-58, Zimmerman pulled up for a deep three-point shot off a pass from Seilern. The Pacers pulled within two when Wright hit a pull-up jumper on a fast break from 13 feet out. Momentum continued in the Pacers' direction when Seilern went through two defenders, slicing his way for a lay-up. Fouled on the play, he made the charity toss for the one-point edge.
The teams continued battling back-and-forth as the game was tied for the ninth time with 4:03 to go.
Alexander's team trailed by one with 2:25 to play, but Butler connected for five straight points for a 77-73 advantage. He drained a jumper from the wing and then buried a corner three with 1:12 to go.
USC Aiken led by three with 54 ticks remaining on the clock, but Wright and Larsen each hit a pair of free throws, taking an 81-74 lead.
The Pacers return to action Saturday at Armstrong. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.