It’s no surprise what Augusta State coach Dip Metress is going to do tonight.
Still seeking his first regular season win over USC Aiken at the convocation center, Metress wants to uncork an unorthodox idea.
“We’re going to try to get our student group to steal the shot clocks over there,” said Metress, who is 0-5 in the regular season against the Pacers at the USC Aiken Convocation Center. “I think if we pull the shot clocks out we have a chance.”
Metress and his short-handed squad are looking for an upset when they visit the league-leading Pacers.
The USC Aiken men (18-6,
14-3) can clinch the Peach Belt Conference with a victory. The Pacers have won three in a row, nine of their past 10.
USC Aiken is led by shooting guard Ronald Zimmerman (15.5 scoring average on more than four 3-pointers a game) and point guard Re’mon Nelson, who averages 13.2 points and 6.7 assists a game. Also, forwards Paul Larsen and Santoine Butler are two of the more dynamic inside players in the league, averaging a combined 26.6 points and 15.6 boards per contest.
“It’s arguably the best Aiken team we’ve coached against as a team,” Metress said. “They’re very good. This is going to be a challenge.”
On the flip side, Augusta State (13-11, 8-9) will clinch a spot in the conference tournament with a win. The Jaguars hold a 11/2-game lead over Flagler for fourth place in the East Division. The top four teams advance to the Peach Belt Tournament next week.
Augusta State, with just eight players on the roster, has switched to a slow-down offense and has been successful. The Jaguars have shot better than 50 percent from the field the past three games.
“We better make some shots over there, because we’re going to hold it,” Metress
said. “That’s no big secret.”
In the women’s game, the 21st-ranked Lady Pacers (19-5, 12-5) can clinch the division with a win while the Lady Jaguars (19-5, 12-5) also control their destiny.
USC Aiken guard Daniela Tarailo, who scored 31 in the Lady Pacers’ buzzer-beating win at Augusta State, has scored 15 points combined the past three games. Augusta State forward Jemimah Ashby, who missed the USC Aiken game because of injury, has returned to score in double digits in two of the past four games.