In what should be the most intense game of the Augusta State-USC Aiken rivalry, neither coach is firing shots.
That's because the two friends have nothing but respect for each other.
"One thing I appreciate about Gary (Tuell, Jaguars head coach) is that he's 7-0 (in the Peach Belt) right now and his demeanor, his friendship toward me is the same when he was 0-7 last year," Pacers head coach Mike Roberts said.
And Tuell, who is battling an upper respiratory ailment, will not enjoy his team's game tonight at 7:30 at USC Aiken. The women start at 5:30 p.m.
"I know it's a big rivalry, but it's really not any fun," Tuell said. "We don't pull against each other. I root for them to win."
Tuell won't be rooting for them to win tonight, though, as his Peach Belt North Division-leading Jaguars (10-6, 7-0 PBAC) look to remain undefeated in the conference. Augusta will look to sweep its three-game road trip and separate itself from the pack with a win over the Pacers.
But USC Aiken (10-6, 4-2) won't be throwing in the towel. The Pacers, without injured 6-foot-10 center Derek Moore, are on a three-game winning streak.
"It'll be hard to go in there and play like we're supposed to because they don't have their best player in there," Jaguar center Demetric Taylor said of Moore's absence.
Former Augusta State guard Leon Brunson has provided a spark off the bench for the Pacers, averaging 14 points in the last three games. But Juan Wiley is still the main go-to guy for the Pacers.
Wiley leads the PBAC in rebounds with 10.6 a game and is third in scoring with 20.2 points a game.
But the Pacers will have to shut down an Augusta State team leading the PBAC with 8.5 3-point field goals made per game. Also, USC Aiken will have to slow down Augusta's Kavossy Franklin.
Franklin, who leads the team with 21.6 points a game, averaged 23 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field.
"We still have a lot to prove," Augusta guard Oliver Ottley said. "In order to make a statement, we have to beat Aiken. We're not at the top of the mountain."
In the women's game, it will be a battle of losing streaks as USC Aiken (5-11, 0-6) has lost six in a row since starting conference play, while Augusta State (6-10, 2-5) has lost three in a row.
One key matchup will be between the centers. The Lady Pacers' Kenya Brown leads the PBAC with 9.9 rebounds a game and is third on the team in scoring (11.9), while the Lady Jaguars' Tamiko Benton has posted four double-doubles in her last five games.
Kerry Ansbro, who leads the conference with 3.81 3-pointers made per game, leads USC Aiken with 15.3 points a game, while Briar Fontaine (second on the team with 14.5 points a game) comes off a double-double against UNC Pembroke on Saturday.
Freshman Katie Lawrence, who leads the PBAC with 4.56 steals a game, leads Augusta State with 13.8 points per game.
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