Originally created 02/16/99

USC Aiken honors five seniors tonight



AIKEN -- USC Aiken's men and women basketball teams have both been on a roller coaster ride of highs and lows this season, more lows than highs for the women especially.

But if there is one thing the Pacer teams have never lacked, it would be senior leadership. Tonight, Lady Pacers seniors Kenya Brown, Kerry Ansbro and Lindsay Hope of Evans and Pacers Juan Wiley and Derek Moore will be honored as they play their final home game against Lander. The women's game begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30.

The seniors not only have led Aiken in battle, but they have made their mark as being among the elite players in the Peach Belt Athletic Conference.

On Monday, Juan Wiley was named league player of the week after averaging 23.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds in leading Aiken to victories over USC Spartanburg and Armstrong Atlantic last week.

The 6-foot-6 forward currently is tied for first in the league in scoring, at 20.7 points a game and leads in rebounding with 10.1 per contest, making him a strong candidate for conference player of the year.

"I'm happy but sad my career here is over," Wiley said. "People told me to always have fun because it'll go by fast, so that's what I did."

Wiley, who recently eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career, took up most of the scoring slack this year when 6-10 center Derek Moore missed nine games with an ankle injury. That includes a school-record 40 points in a loss to Clayton College & State University on Jan. 27.

Moore, who was on track to break the Division II record for blocks before he went out on Jan. 9 against Kennesaw State, is now back. He's averaging 17 points per game, 9.4 boards and 5.1 blocks in just 16 games. He still leads the nation in blocked shots per game, but needs 27 to break the all-time record.

The Pacers (13-12, 7-8 PBAC) have won three in a row after dropping six straight and have a chance tonight to finish at .500 in conference play.

The Lady Pacers (5-20, 0-15) have lost a school-record 15 conference games, but have had Brown and Ansbro step up in almost every game.

Ansbro, who is Aiken's career leader in 3-pointers made with 199, put up a career-high 30 points in a loss to Armstrong Atlantic this past weekend, including a school-record eight treys. The 5-9 forward is Aiken's second leading scorer with 15-point per game average.

"I think my four years here have been very good, this year in particular, I've really enjoyed," Ansbro said. "I'm happy with the way this year's gone individually, as a team I wish it could've been better."

Brown has been the workhorse for the Lady Pacers as she is tied for first in the conference with 11 double-doubles on the year. The 6-2 center is currently averaging a third-best 13.5 points per game for Aiken and currently leads the Peach Belt with her 9.5 rebounds a contest.

"Even though our season has not gone well, I'm still sad cause it's my last home game in Aiken," Brown said.

Hope started 14 games and averaged six points a game last season. She played in only two games this season.