LAKELAND, Fla. – The University of South Carolina Aiken men’s basketball team lost a 99-86 decision at No. 23 Florida Southern Tuesday evening.

The Pacers are now 2-2 on the season as are the Mocs.

Head coach Mark Vanderslice‘s team was led by Tyler Johnson’s career-high 23 points on nine-of-16 shooting from the floor. He also snagged a team-high six boards to go along with a game-best three steals.

David Strother added 16 points on five-of-10 shooting. Preston Parks and LaTreavin Black added 13 and 12, respectively. Parks dished out four assists while Black pulled down nine rebounds.

The Pacers trailed 32-14 near the midway point of the half, but the squad chipped away at the margin. Parks found Tehree Horn for a three-point bucket at the 4:26 mark, pulling the team within nine, 40-31. However, the home team responded with a 9-0 run for an 18-point advantage. USC Aiken scored the final five points of the half – two from Johnson and three from Strother – to make it a 51-38 game at the break.

Down 63-41, the Pacers continued to cut into the deficit. Demitrios Dixon nailed a three-ball off a pass from Strother at the 12:36 mark. Moments later, Strother converted a three-point play to pull the visitors within 10, 72-62. Johnson netted the next four points, pulling the squad within six at 72-66. However, the team could not get any closer the rest of the way. 

For the game, USC Aiken hit 30-of-69 from the floor (43.5 percent), including five-of-18 from downtown (27.8 percent). The team connected on 21-of-28 from the charity stripe (75.0 percent). Vanderslice’s team held a 41-34 advantage on the glass, including a 16-9 edge on the offensive glass. 

The Mocs canned 13-of-28 from downtown (46.4 percent).

The Pacers return to action Friday when they play at Belmont Abbey at 2 p.m. Live stats and video will be available at PacerSports.com.

COURTESY USCA SPORTS INFORMATION