Originally created 02/25/97

USC-Aiken back in action Tuesday



Larry Epperly didn't intend to be in this position.

When he put together USC-Aiken's schedule last spring, the Pacer coach wasn't figuring on having to play two games in two nights, but that's how it worked out.

Aiken routed non-Peach Belt Athletic Conference foe Anderson College 101-69 on Monday night and must now face Francis Marion in the first round of the PBAC Tournament, which begins today at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Ga.

The seventh-seeded Pacers (11-14, 8-11) play the 10th-seeded Patriots at 6 p.m., which will be followed by ninth-seeded Augusta State's (8-18, 5-13) game with No. 8 seed Pembroke State (9-17, 6-12).

"This was the only date we could find with Anderson, and at that point, I did not expect to be in a play-in game," Epperly said. "We didn't think playing Monday would be a factor. We figured on playing our first game of the tournament on Thursday, which would give us plenty of time between games. We can't change it, so we just have to turn it into a positive. That's all we can do."

USC-Aiken's women, the No. 9 seed with records of 6-20 and 4-14, will play eighth-seeded Lander (8-18, 5-13) today at noon.

Lowell Barnhart's Augusta State women (18-8, 10-8) received a bye by finishing fifth and will play Columbus State (16-10, 11-7) on Wednesday at 2 p.m. The Lady Cougars defeated the Lady Jaguars 56-53 in the final regular-season game on Saturday.

Epperly doesn't think playing games on consecutive nights will be a problem at this point of the season.

"Playing is no different than practicing," he said. "It's all mental. It's all how you look at it. We just want to go into the conference tournament with some confidence. Someone's going to win it. It might as well be us."

Lack of consistency has been the Pacers' main problem.

They've defeated some of the top teams in the conference, but lost to the lower seeded teams, including getting swept by Augusta State.

"We've played well on occasion," Epperly said. "We've got to do better than that."

Augusta State won two straight games last week to end a 10-game losing streak and picked up momentum in the process. However, some of that was dashed in an 85-55 loss at Columbus State on Saturday.

Senior forward Brian Clernon and freshmen guards Oliver Ottley and Patrick Woodward have played well of late. They combined for 40 of the team's 55 points on Saturday.

In Monday night's regular season finale, the Pacers hit 100 percent of their free throws against Anderson. They led 54-30 at halftime and were never threatened.

Six Pacers finished in double figures: Corey Faggins (18), Derek Moore (17), Kendrick Smith (16), Sheralton White (13) and Thomas Ryan (11).