Short-handed USC Aiken ends season in PBC quarterfinals


AIKEN, S.C. – The No. 4 University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team lost an 87-65 contest to No. 5 Columbus State Wednesday evening.

The Pacers conclude the season at 17-14.

Shaquan Jules led the way with a game-high 23 points. He added four rebounds and four assists in the contest.

Kyle Tackeberry, playing in his final game, registered 19 points, three rebounds and a steal. He concluded the season with a thunderous dunk in the waning seconds.

Robert Hill and Jon Smith added eight points apiece. Hill, playing in his final game, snagged nine rebounds and added a block.

Darius Bell contributed four points and a game-high 10 boards. He also chipped in three assists. Ryan Missildine chipped in three points, eight rebounds and a block.

For the game, USC Aiken hit 23-of-48 from the floor (47.9 percent), including three-of-eight from downtown (37.5 percent). The squad connected on 16-of-20 from the charity stripe (80 percent). The Pacers controlled the glass, out-rebounding the visitors 37-23.

USC Aiken jumped out to a 4-0 lead after jumpers from Jules and Tackeberry.

After trailing 28-15, Jules nailed a jumper on the break with 5:35 to go in the half. Smith was fouled on a drive and calmly drilled his first two charity tosses, making it a 28-19 game. The Pacers pulled within eight at 32-24 on a three-ball from Tackeberry off a pass from Jules, but the visitors made a three-point shot for an 11-point edge at the break.

The Cougars made it 57-37 early in the second half, but an old-fashioned three-point play by Missildine cut the deficit to 15 at 62-47. Smith connected from 25 feet out to make it a 12-point game. Moments later, Bell hit a jumper to pull within 11, but that was as close as the Pacers would get the rest of the way

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