USC Aiken’s bid for another Peach Belt Conference title this season remains alive.
Re’mon Nelson scored a game-high 24 points and the Pacers rallied late to upend North Georgia, 88-85, in overtime in the tournament semifinals in Columbus, Ga.
USC Aiken (21-7), the league’s regular season champion, advances to play the Montevallo-UNC Pembroke winner at 4:30 p.m. today.
North Georgia finishes its season at 16-12.
The Saints led by nine with four minutes left in regulation. Then, Nelson, the Peach Belt Player of the Year, got hot. He swished consecutive 3-pointers to pull the Pacers within striking distance.
USC Aiken trailed by two with eight seconds remaining. Nelson drained both free throws to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, Nelson knocked down a leaner in the lane to extend USC Aiken’s lead to three with 25 seconds left. Scott Windom tried to respond with a tying shot from the right corner, but he stepped on the 3-point line. Nelson followed with two free throws. Travis Core then missed a game-tying three at the buzzer.
Jesse Seilern scored 18 points for USC AIken, while Santoine Butler added 16 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Paul Larsen posted 10 points and 13 rebounds.
• The top-ranked Clayton State women scored the first seven points to open the game and never trailed in a 75-62 win over USC Aiken.
The Lady Lakers (28-0) advance to play North Georgia in the championship at 2 p.m. today. USC Aiken (21-7) likely will advance to next week’s Division II Tournament.
The Lady Pacers shot just 33 percent from the field, including a 3 for 19 effort from3-point range. Porsha Martin led USC Aiken with 18 points. Brittany Hill added 13 points on 2 for 9 shooting, while Daniela Tarailo chipped in with 12 points on 4 for 16 shooting.
Drameka Griggs came off the bench to post a game-high 34 points in 34 minutes to lead Clayton State.