Hot shooting sends Pacers past Bearcats

College Sports

The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team posted a 108-103 win at Lander Saturday.

The Pacers are now 24-2 overall and 18-2 in league play. The Bearcats fall to 11-15 overall and 10-10 against conference foes.

Doniel Dean led a quartet of Pacers in double figures with 28 points. Xzavier Barmore accounted for 25 markers while Ty’lik Evans hit for 23 points. Shaquan Jules chipped in 12 points in the win.

Faison Brock narrowly missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Robert Hilladded six points and eight boards.  

Head coach Mark Vanderslice‘s team found itself trailing 25-11 with 12:14 to play in the opening half. However, a pair of free throws from Brock got things going in the right direction for the Pacers. Evans buried a three-ball, making it 25-16. After a three-point shot by the home team, Barmore quickly converted a lay-up. After a miss from the Bearcats, Jules took a pass from Evans to make it 28-20. Evans converted an old-fashioned three-point play and a lay-up from Dean pulled the visitors within three with 10:05 to go.

Evans was fouled on a three-point shot and promptly hit all three charity tosses, knotting the score at 30-30. Trailing 36-34, Evans canned another shot from distance for a one-point lead. He converted a lay-up for a 39-36 advantage. The Pacers pushed the margin to seven on a three-ball from Dean to make it 50-43, but the Bearcats tied it at 52-52. A lay-up from Barmore before the intermission gave the visitors a 54-52 edge.

In a back-and-forth second half, USC Aiken trailed 87-81 with 6:41 to play. Dean sliced through the defense for a lay-up as did Evans, bringing USC Aiken within two.

Down 89-85, Kyle Tackeberry took a pass from Dean and buried a three-ball. Trailing 93-90, Dean made four straight free throws for a 94-93 advantage with 3:25 to play. Jules followed up a miss from Brock with a bucket, giving the Pacers a three-point cushion.

Leading 96-94, Jules converted an old-fashioned three-point play. Lander pulled within three with 46 seconds to go, but Barmore hit a pair of free throws. The Bearcats were forced to foul, sending Brock and Evans to the line. They each hit a pair of free throws for a 107-98 lead with 20 seconds to go en route to the win.

For the game, USC Aiken hit 38-of-74 from the floor (51.4 percent). The team also buried 27-of-34 from the charity stripe (79.4 percent). Vanderslice’s team held a 44-34 edge in rebounds. 

The Pacers return to action Wednesday when they host Augusta on Senior Night at 7:30 p.m.

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