Originally created 02/26/97

USC-Aiken falls in Peach Belt



MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Larry Epperly thought USC-Aiken's 101-69 whipping of Anderson College on Monday would give his team confidence heading into the Peach Belt Athletic Conference Tournament.

It might have given them too much.

Francis Marion, the 10th seed, ended a 16-game losing streak by upsetting the seventh-seeded Pacers 65-60 on Tuesday at Georgia College & State University.

Two of the Patriots' three victories this season have come at Aiken's expense.

"Maybe we were too confident," Aiken guard Kendrick Smith said. "Everybody was up after (Monday's) win. We were really looking forward to the tournament because we thought we would win."

The loss ended another disappointing season for the Pacers, who missed last year's tournament because the ninth and 10th place teams did not participate. This season ended at 12-15, marking the fourth straight losing year for the Pacers.

"We came into the tournament hoping to make up for a lot of things that went wrong this year," said Smith, who scored 14 points. "We're definitely not real happy with the way things turned out this year. We thought things would go a lot better."

Against the Patriots, Aiken suffered a late drought of almost seven minutes without a field goal. During that time, Francis Marion's Travis Corpening scored 10 straight points as the Pacers went from 53-51 to trailing 61-55. Corpening finished with 32 points on 13 of 20 shooting from the field.

"We just didn't get the job done down the stretch," Epperly said. "We didn't score and didn't keep the ball out of Corpening's hands. We tried to deny him the ball and he scores 32 points. We didn't get it done."

Aiken freshman Corey Faggins scored a career-high 21 points and Derek Moore added 16 points, but Marc Hutcheson scored only one point, nine below his average.

FRANCIS MARION (65)- Bledsoe 1-5 0-0 2, Corpening 13-20 4-7 32, Heaney 2-8 3-5 8, Gruhl 0-0 2-4 2, Wilson 3-5 3-3 9, Lambert 0-1 0-0 0, Grady 2-7 0-0 6, Wall 0-3 0-0 0, Rostek 2-4 2-2 6. Totals 23-53 14-21 65.

USC-AIKEN (60)- Ryan 0-1 0-0 0, Faggins 8-14 3-3 21, Smith 4-15 4-6 14, Moore 6-11 3-3 16, McMurray 2-6 2-2 6, White 0-0 0-0 0, Richardson 1-2 0-1 2, Hutcheson 0-0 1-3 1. Totals 21-49 13-18 60.

Halftime- USC-Aiken 28, Francis Marion 28.

3-point goals- FM 5-13 (Corpening 2-4, Grady 2-3, Heaney 1-3, Bledsoe 0-2, Wall 0-1), Aiken 5-13 (Smith 2-6, Faggins 2-4, Moore 1-1, Ryan 0-1, McMurray 0-1). Fouled out- None. Rebounds- FM 30 (Grady 7), Aiken 35 (Moore 8). Assists- FM 12 (Grady 5), Aiken 13 (Ryan 5). Turnovers- FM 9, Aiken 14. Total fouls- FM 17, Aiken 22. A- 201.