ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team picked up an 81-72 victory at Flagler Wednesday evening.
The Pacers are now 16-9 overall and 12-3 in league play.
Head coach Mark Vanderslice’s team was led by Dhieu Deing’s game-high 17 points. Gus Rowland added 15 points and five steals while Shaquan Jules totaled 13 markers. Faison Brock and Damontez Oliver netted 12 points apiece.
Robert Hill chipped in seven points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
It was a tightly contested first half. USC Aiken trailed 14-10 with 12:38 to go in the stanza, but Xzavier Barmore hit a charity toss to begin a run by the visitors. Kyle Tackeberry trimmed the deficit to one at the 11:02 mark. Deing’s lay-up gave the Pacers a 15-14 advantage. Deing and Donaven Hairston converted back-to-back shots before Deing found the bottom of the net for a 21-14 lead, completing the 11-0 run.
Leading 29-24 with under a minute to play in the period, Brock netted the final four points for a 33-24 advantage at the break.
The Pacers carried the momentum into the second half, reeling off the next five points for a 38-24 lead. Hill’s shot gave the squad an 11-point edge before Brock completed the spurt with a three-point play.
After leading by as many as 25 at 63-38 when Deing found Jules for a basket, the Saints managed to cut the deficit to single digits.
Flagler made it a 77-70 game with 1:05 to play, but Rowland was fouled with 59 seconds to go. He hit two free throws, giving the visitors a nine-point cushion. Deing hit a pair of charity tosses with 44 ticks on the clock, pushing the lead to 11. A defensive stand that ended with an Oliver rebound essentially ended the comeback attempt by the home team.
For the game, USC Aiken hit 29-of-60 from the floor (48.3 percent). The squad stepped to the charity stripe 28 times and hit 20 attempts (71.4 percent). Vanderslice’s team had 34 points off the bench. The Pacers registered 19 points off turnovers.
The Pacers return to action Saturday when they host Young Harris at 3:30 p.m. Live stats and video will be available at PacerSports.com.