AIKEN, S.C. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team netted a 78-76 victory over Columbus State Wednesday evening in a league contest.
The Pacers improve to 6-5 on the year and 2-0 in league play while the Cougars fall to 5-4 overall and 0-1 against conference foes.
Faison Brock scored his 1,000th career point with his first bucket of the game while leading all scorers with 25 points. He added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Gus Rowland accounted for 24 points, seven assists and four steals. Damontez Oliver tallied 11 points while Dhieu Deing chipped in eight.
Robert Hill snagged a game-high 12 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
USC Aiken trailed 34-21 with 4:39 to go in the first half, but the squad closed the gap, outscoring the visitors 13-3 the rest of the way. In fact, the Pacers went on an 8-0 run to end the first half. During the spurt, Brock hit a pair of free throws. Rowland sliced through the defense for a jumper prior to Brock connecting for two more charity tosses. With 1:30 to go, Rowland registered a steal and lay-up to make it 37-34 heading into the second half.
Rowland’s lay-up at the 13:05 mark in the game gave USC Aiken a 49-48 lead, but the visitors quickly regained the advantage. The Pacers trailed by as many as eight before a jumper by Brock tied it at 73-73 with 2:34 to go.
After neither team could convert on their ensuing possessions, Rowland stepped up and buried a 25-foot three-point shot with 43 ticks remaining. After the Cougars knotted it with 29 seconds to go, a time-out was taken. The Pacers worked the ball around and got it to Oliver, who went up for a three-point shot from the wing. However, he was fouled with two seconds left. Oliver calmly made a pair of free throws to go up 78-76.
Out of time-outs, the Cougars threw a pass toward the far three-point line, which Shaquan Jules intercepted, ending the game.
For the game, USC Aiken hit 23-of-57 from the floor (40.4 percent) and 26-of-35 from the free-throw line (74.3 percent). Vanderslice’s team controlled the paint, outscoring the visitors 32-18. The home squad also maintained a 16-6 edge on the break.
The Pacers return to action Saturday when they host Georgia Southwestern at 3:30 p.m. Live stats and video will be available at PacerSports.com.
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