Thursday, January 17, 2013

USC Aiken Improves to 5-1 in Conference Play with Home Win

USC Aiken's 66-55 home win over Clayton State Wednesday improves the Pacers' record to 9-4 overall and, importantly, puts pressure on rival Augusta State to keep pace in the Peach Belt Conference East Division race.  Aiken leads the Jaguars by one game in the win column.  Augusta State gets a chance to even the Pacers' 5-1 conference record in a home game tonight versus Flagler.

The Pacers had to adjust early to the play of Lakers' senior center Andrew Bachanov, who scored six early points in the post, helping to establish a 12-3 Clayton State lead.  Aiken coach Vince Alexander called an early time out and apparently instructed his players to deny and double Bachanov.  The strategy work as the Lakers' center failed to score again.

The Pacers soon gained control, getting high percentage shots, including three "alley-oop" dunks in transition.  For the second consecutive game, point guard Re'mon Nelson was on the "giving end" of multiple lob passes.  The crowd had a lot to cheer about as the Pacers entered the break with a 38-20 lead after a blistering 32-8 run.

Clayton State showed signs of life early in the second half, earning trips to the foul line and converting enough free throws to shave the lead to 10 points.  But the extra opportunities the Pacers were able to get told the story Wednesday.  Although both teams shot 40% from the field, the Pacers attempted 13 more shots, scoring 24 points off of the 17 turnovers committed by the Lakers.

Senior guard Re'mon Nelson and junior guard Jesse Seilern led the way for the Pacers, scoring 13 points each.  Paul Larsen claimed his fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with 11 points.  Clayton State senior Juron Dobbs led the way for the Lakers, scoring 12 points.  
Clayton State falls to 7-7 overall, 3-4 in conference play.

Watch the highlights above to see why the Pacers have proven themselves to be a team to beat in the Peach Belt Conference.

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