USC Aiken rides defense into semifinals

  • Follow USCA

COLUMBUS, Ga. — When Clayton State and USC Aiken last met on Jan. 28, the Lakers upended the Pacers.

However, USC Aiken – the Peach Belt Conference’s  regular-season champion – won when it mattered most Friday night, holding off Clayton State, 48-40, in a quarterfinal matchup at the conference tournament.

“We knew we were going to have a tough game tonight and we ended up playing one of the toughest teams in the conference, ” USC Aiken coach Vince Alexander said.
“This was a great defensive battle and we came out on top.”

The teams combined to make only 27 of 92 field-goal attempts (29.3 percent), only 1 of their 25 3-point shots and combined for 33 turnovers.

USC Aiken (21-6) went into the locker room at halftime up 22-17.

Clayton State (16-11) made a run of its own early in the second half and led 29-26 after a Juron Dobbs jumper with 12:40 remaining, but the Pacers (21-6) kept things close and took the lead for good on a pair of  free throws by Jesse Seilern with 9:57 left.

Clayton State trailed only 41-39 after a layup by Dobbs, but two turnovers along with 5 of 6 free-throw shooting in the final 33 seconds allowed USC Aiken to seal the win.

The game was the third-lowest scoring contest in Peach Belt Conference Tournament history, which dates back to 1992.

USC Aiken won despite shooting only 12 for 46 (26.1 percent) and making only 1 of its 16 3-point attempts.

Maurice Hubbard led the Pacers with 11 points.


Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs