Originally created 01/16/97

UNC-Pembroke squeezes past USC-Aiken 68-63



AIKEN - Mr. Hyde showed up as the USC-Aiken men's basketball team Wednesday night.

UNC-Pembroke used 33 points from its bench to upset USC-Aiken 68-63 in a Peach Belt Athletic Conference contest at The Courthouse.

USC-Aiken (8-5, 4-3) entered the game tied for second place in league play with Lander while UNC-Pembroke (6-8, 3-4) was tied for ninth place in the 10-team league.

But for the third time this season, the Pacers lost to a team in the lower half of the Peach Belt Conference.

USC-Aiken has defeated league-leading Georgia College & State University as well as Lander, Kennesaw State and Armstrong Atlantic - all upper division squads in the Peach Belt.

This loss left Pacer coach Larry Epperly bewildered.

"It's a very disappointing loss on our home floor," Epperly said. "The second half, our defense and rebounding went away. We've been winning by stopping people. In the second half, we didn't."

As in a 63-50 loss to Augusta State, it was freshmen reserves who would doom USC-Aiken. Guard Derrick Stinson scored 19 points off the bench and forward Mike Lowery added 11 as they scored 30 of UNC-Pembroke's 33 points off the bench.

"We've got a good bench," UNC-Pembroke coach John Haskins said. "Lowery, Stinson and Walton (three points) are all freshmen and all three of those guys played extremely well."

USC-Aiken raced to a 14-2 lead less than six minutes into the game only to have UNC-Pembroke tie the game at 18 with 7:10 remaining in the first half. The Pacers led 29-21 at intermission behind 10 points and five rebounds from center Derek Moore.

The 6-foot-9 sophomore scored 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and had three assists.

But in the second half, UNC-Pembroke's shooting and quickness took control. The Braves shot 51.9 percent from the floor (14-for-27) and made three of five 3-pointers.

USC-Aiken led by 11, 38-27, less than five minutes into the second half, but UNC-Pembroke went on a 28-9 run to take a 55-47 lead with 2:11 remaining in the contest.

USC-Aiken cut its deficit to three twice, including 63-60 with 25.7 seconds left but UNC-Pembroke hung on to break a three-game losing streak.

"We played as good a second half as we can play," Haskins said.

Chris Brown, the Braves' leading scorer at 18.3 points per game and the league's No. 4 scorer, was held to three points. The senior guard did not attempt a shot from the field and made three of six free throws in the game's final minute.

Epperly said he has never had a team that is so inconsistent. He said the Pacers practice that way as well.

"We're certainly an unpredictable team," Epperly said. "Maybe, we are not ready to win consistently."

UNC-PEMBROKE (68)-Chavis Rachel 1-7 2-3 5, Chris Brown 0-0 3-6 3, Lenoris Yarborough 4-11 8-11 16, Ervin Figgs 3-5 0-0 6, Frank Smith 2-6 1-4 5, Derrick Stinson 5-10 7-7 19, Scott Walton 1-3 0-0 3, Scott Walton 5-7 0-0 11. Totals 21-49 21-31 68.

USC-AIKEN (63)-Thomas Ryan 3-8 3-5 11, Sheralton White 4-8 0-0 12, Marc Hutcheson 2-12, 1-2 7, Brandon Richardson 3-8 1-1 7, Derek Moore 9-13 2-4 20, Corey Faggins 0-1 0-0 0, Kendrick Smith 3-10 0-0 6, Hugh McMurray 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-62 7-12 63.

Halftime: USC-Aiken 29-21.

3-point goals: UNC-Pembroke 5-11 (Rachel 1-4, Yarborough 0-1, Stinson 2-2, Walton 1-2, Lowery 1-2), USC-Aiken 8-29 (Ryan 2-7, White 4-6, Hutcheson 2-11, Moore 0-2, Smith 0-2, McMurray 0-1). Rebounds: UNC-Pembroke 30 (Yarborough 9), USC-Aiken 42 (Moore 14). Assists: UNC-Pembroke 11 (Yarborough 3), USC-Aiken 11 (Hutcheson 4). Turnovers: UNC-Pembroke 5, USC-Aiken 12. Total Fouls: UNC-Pembroke 12, USC-Aiken 25.