USC Aiken Pacers shock Jaguars for '22'

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AIKEN --- In the waning moments, USC Aiken fans chanted "Twenty-two, Twenty-two."

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ASU's Daniel Dixon tries to get the steal on USC Aiken's Sterling Council.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
ASU's Daniel Dixon tries to get the steal on USC Aiken's Sterling Council.

The memory of Javonte Clanton lived on Monday night at the convocation center as the Pacers shocked No. 6 Augusta State, 71-68.

Wearing a No. 22 patch on his jersey, USC Aiken guard Sterling Council swished the game-winning, 16-foot jumper with 9.5 seconds remaining. Byron Faison later added two free throws to cap USC Aiken's biggest win of the season in front of Clanton's mother and sister and a crowd of 3,298.

"Twenty-two. We said we were going to do it for (Javonte), and that's exactly what we did," Pacers forward Seth Leonard said. "We looked at that board -- his poster's up on the wall in the locker room -- and we talked about him before the game. He definitely was looking out for us and we wanted to definitely step up on this day."

Council didn't forget Augusta State's one-point win over the Pacers last year here in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship game. And he certainly didn't forget the Jaguars' win over USC Aiken in the 2009 Southeast Regional championship, Clanton's final collegiate game. The former Pacer guard died in a car accident just hours after that contest.

"(Javonte) was on my side and helped me knock down that shot," said Council, who led USC Aiken with 15 points. "I just wanted to rise to the occasion."

The Pacers played their finest game of the season, improving to 12-6 overall and 7-4 in conference play. USC Aiken overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half, held Augusta State to 44 percent field-goal shooting after halftime and forced 19 turnovers (13 in the second half).

"Our guys did a tremendous job of making some adjustments. We play these guys a lot, so we talk about their tendencies and focus on their tendencies," said Pacers coach Vince Alexander, whose team has knocked off Augusta State in their past three regular-season matchups at the convocation center.

"It comes down to two things -- toughness and turnovers," Jaguars coach Dip Metress said. "They made all the tough plays the first part of the second half. And we turned the ball over too much. You do that, you lose.

"Usually, we're a little smarter than that. Tonight, we won the stupid award. We were stupid all night."

Metress was the lone Augusta State representative available for comment after the game following the on-court melee at the game's conclusion. Pacer fans rushed the court, running over Jaguar guard Ben Madgen and forward Greg Hire.

After a few minutes, things settled down and the teams made it to their locker rooms.

Afterward, Metress said his two big men, center Alex Smith and forward Hire, missing significant chunks of the game because of foul trouble was key. Smith, who averages 15.3 points a game, was held to seven points. He picked up two quick fouls at the end of the first half and notched his fourth with 12:27 remaining.

"He got into foul trouble and that hurt us," Metress said about Smith. "But that didn't hurt as much as the lack of toughness we possessed tonight."

USC Aiken trailed by 14 late in the first half before popping four free throws just before halftime. Down 10 early in the second half, the Pacers kept chipping away at the deficit and went ahead 62-61 on Council's 10-foot pull-up jumper.

Augusta State made just one bucket the final five minutes. In that span, the Jaguars turned the ball over five times, four by senior forward Fred Brathwaite. With 37 seconds remaining, Brathwaite fumbled Daniel Dixon's inbounds pass near the basket.

After Council's game-winner, Augusta State pushed the ball up the floor to Brathwaite on the wing. He tried to dribble behind his back, but with Casey McMasters defending, Council tipped the ball away and Byron Faison grabbed it and got fouled.

After Faison pushed the lead to three, Madgen, who posted a game-high 24 points, missed a desperation, off-balanced 3-pointer.

"You go back to one of the final plays, Casey (McMasters) guarding Brathwaite. He knew what he was going to do on that particular move, played it and got a steal," Alexander said. "So I have to give credit to our guys as well for paying attention to details and executing them."

These two teams turn around and play again next Wednesday in Augusta. Before then, the Jaguars travel Thursday to Georgia Southwestern and then Saturday to Columbus State.

"When we drive across that bridge, I'm not jumping off," Metress said. "Lost a tough game on the road. We've got to deal with Georgia Southwestern and Columbus on the road. Hopefully, we'll get those. We'll worry about Aiken next week."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com

USC AIKEN 71, AUGUSTA STATE 68

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sterling Council. The USC Aiken guard led the Pacers with 15 points and added four steals.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Council swished the game-winning, 16-foot jumper with 9.5 seconds left.

NEXT: Augusta State (15-2, 7-1) at Georgia Southwestern, 7:30 p.m., Thursday; King College at USC Aiken (12-6, 7-4), 3 p.m., Saturday.

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oldenuff2nobetter
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oldenuff2nobetter 01/26/10 - 04:07 am
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Jaguars got out played by an

Jaguars got out played by an inspired USC-Aiken team. With Smith and Hire in foul trouble, the Jags had no inside game. ASU should have shot more 3 pointers in the 2nd half. Several key turnovers didn't help.

Bond..James..Bond
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Bond..James..Bond 01/26/10 - 08:26 am
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What an exciting game! It

What an exciting game! It was good to go back to USCA and have a legitimate sports experience. The Convocation Center was packed! We did get a few calls go our way but in the end defense and free throws made the difference.

DowntownJaguar
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DowntownJaguar 01/26/10 - 08:51 am
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It was only fitting that a

It was only fitting that a game where a thug was honored would end in a fight. Typical Aiken--and what is with the dancers brought in from Murphy Village? D, JD.

Bond..James..Bond
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Bond..James..Bond 01/26/10 - 09:02 am
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Very classy, DOWNTOWNJAGUAR!

Very classy, DOWNTOWNJAGUAR! You represent your school well.

dougk
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dougk 01/26/10 - 09:17 am
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DowntownJaguar needs your
Unpublished

DowntownJaguar needs your prayers. I understand those eternal flames are awlfully hot.

Zack
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Zack 01/26/10 - 10:05 am
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I'll admit that ASU gave this

I'll admit that ASU gave this game away: they had way too many turnovers and missed a lot of opportunities, but the outcome of this game should have been different. Ben was fouled on his final 3-pt attempt, and from my view (10 feet away from the referee on the line), there was a foul called on that shot. However, the pacer fans erupted and stormed the court, and the referee simply jogged off the court knowing he couldn't stop 3,000 people. There was a lack of class showed by quite a few people in red shirts last night, and I can only hope that we can turn the other cheek and show Aiken a great game and a classy crowd when they come across the river.

Lion Fan
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Lion Fan 01/26/10 - 10:58 am
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Congratulations to the Pacers

Congratulations to the Pacers on the win. Let's get two wins at GSW and Columbus and then play host to USCA. And, I agree Zach, lets lead by example and treat our visitors with class and good sportsmanship.

faithfullyyours
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faithfullyyours 01/26/10 - 11:03 am
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This was such a good game.

This was such a good game. The pacers wanted it and so did their fans and i'm happy for them. They did it for Javonte and thats all that matters. It's just sad that I try to read the story and then read stupid comments left by people who clearly are not intelligent. Javonte was no where near a thug he was a very nice person and if you didnt know him you shouldnt make stupid comments. DowntownJaguar please do not show your stupidity, try to represent your school a little better next time.

GOPACERS
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GOPACERS 01/26/10 - 01:13 pm
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downtownjaguar...its really

downtownjaguar...its really fun how u are talking mad junk about us on the internet when you could have said something at the game last night if you were there since you are such a big fan!!! yes you talking about our school but didn't the jaguars have to cancel two games because you drug related problems...so who are you to talk about we have thugs on our team and school!!!! then to talk about te'...you don't even know him but yet when u heard he passed you commented that you was sorry that it happened...such a hypocrite..but u know what im not going to even to stress this because you when its your time god is going to ask you about this and we know where u going...hell...if u real then you will reveal yourself on wednesday at the game but i doubt that will happen!!! so until you have guts enough to reveal yourself you shouldn't have nothing to say about our school since we beat the #1 d2!!!! thanks!!!! go pacers!!!!

BaBiGuH2007
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BaBiGuH2007 01/26/10 - 01:31 pm
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As far as the "foul" was

As far as the "foul" was concerned, even if Ben had've been given those shots he would have only been able to gain TWO points.. Stop making excuses and take the loss with some dignity. As far as being a classy crowd is concerned, if they were as classy as you described, why were they screaming at the top of their lungs while the cheer team was out on the floor? it's dangerous to yell that loud while someone is being lifted into the air. I also witnessed some ASU students screaming racial remarks and obscenities while our players were out on the floor. But um, if that's what you define as "class", I see why ASU acts the way they do. And if I'm correct, one of YOUR players threw the first punch.

Dowtown, it is VERY disrespectful for you to call Javonte a "thug". You're an "internet thug" who talks crap on the net and is too much of a PANSY to even use their real name. Really though, when do "thugs" go to college and get involved in team sports in order to contribute to the school? "Where they do that at?" F.Y.I Javonte had one of the highest GPAs on the team, but yet he's a thug? What goes up also comes down, and situations like this are nothing to play with. Karma DOES exist :)

JagFan1
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JagFan1 01/26/10 - 02:29 pm
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It is the responsibility of

It is the responsibility of the host team to provide game management. It was obvious that the USCAiken students were planning to storm the court as most of them were already on the court when Madgen got the ball. Someone should have provided security to make sure that the players, coaches and referees were not harmed. While the team did their job and won the game, the staff failed at their job of providing a safe environment. Storming the court during a championship game is a little different than storming the court during a regular season game.

JagFan1
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JagFan1 01/26/10 - 02:57 pm
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"yes you talking about our

"yes you talking about our school but didn't the jaguars have to cancel two games because you drug related problems...so who are you to talk about we have thugs on our team and school!!!! "

GoPacers, please explain what you mean by this. I'm not aware that ASU has cancelled any games. What two games were cancelled?

wlightnin42
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wlightnin42 01/26/10 - 04:11 pm
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Lack of class, Just showing

Lack of class, Just showing us that they don't know how it feels to win a game.

hardtobelieve
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hardtobelieve 01/26/10 - 06:53 pm
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Yes the Pacers won on a night

Yes the Pacers won on a night that meant so much to them. ASU handed that game to them on a silver platter after the half. I like many other Jag fans was disappointed, but I was more disappointed about what happened after the game. Where was security? Fans from both sides acted poorly and there should have been security to make sure that both teams and spectators were safe.

At every ASU game there are always public safety officers situated on the floor as well as in the mezzanines, outside, and near the main entrance. Even when we won the championship last year and fans ran on the floor, they were quick to get the fans from off the floor to prevent anything from happening. I am definitely sure that what happened last night will not happen again at either school.

msjennings
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msjennings 01/27/10 - 02:43 am
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Can you please send me the

Can you please send me the article where ASU got into drug related trouble? I have neveer heard of Asu bball team being in any kind of trouble so where is your source?o ok,as i thought...u just pulling comments out your butt.#22 might have been the smartest guys but he wasnt to smart driving home that night after a game now was he? Just stating the facts.......make ssure you post that article of ASU being in drug related trouble. and remember that next Wed you do have to come to our territory...I guarantee youwont win,heck u barely won that one.o yea, and our ranking is still better than yours...now what?

morganxbailey
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morganxbailey 01/27/10 - 03:40 pm
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You all need to grow up! USCA

You all need to grow up! USCA won and there is nothing you can do to stop it now that it is over and done with. There is no point in talking about someone that isn't even with us anymore and that did nothing to harm any of ya'll especially if you don't know the whole story. Both teams played great but there can only be one winner and come Wednesday night the true winners will show!!

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