COLUMBUS, Ga. — USC Aiken kept alive its bid for another conference title Saturday night.
With their 78-63 win over Georgia Southwestern in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament semifinals, the regular season champs now have a chance to win their fourth Peach Belt championship in two seasons.
The Pacers, who won the regular season and tournament last season, will now face Montevallo in a rematch of last season’s Peach Belt Tournament championship game – a game won by USC Aiken. The Pacers will meet the Falcons at 4:30 p.m. today.
USC Aiken is making its fifth Peach Belt Tournament championship game appearance in the past seven years, sixth overall. The Pacers are 2-2 in the title game in coach Vince Alexander’s tenure.
With its win over Georgia Southwestern, USC Aiken improved to 28-3. More importantly, the Pacers further strengthened their chances of playing host to the Southeast Regional – the first three rounds of the NCAA Division II Tournament – likely starting Saturday at the convocation center in Aiken. The team will learn its fate during the NCAA Selection Show late tonight.
USC Aiken is back in the championship game thanks to a strong effort from Paul Larsen, who dominated in the middle with a game-high 25 points against Georgia Southwestern. Larsen shot 10 for 12 from the field, including a 5 for 5 effort from the foul line, with 12 rebounds.
Pacers guard Ronald Zimmerman had three 3 pointers en route to 15 points, while DeVontae Wright added 13 points and 10 assists.
Against the Hurricanes, USC Aiken opened up a 20-10 lead and went into intermission up six. Larsen drained two free throws and added a jump shot to start the second half as the Pacers quickly pushed their lead to 15 and never looked back.