SAVANNAH, Ga. - USC Aiken's senior front-court tandem pulled off yet another one.
Juan Wiley had a game-high 26 points, while Derek Moore added a Peach Belt Athletic Conference Tournament record 10 blocks and the No. 4 North-seeded Pacers came back to defeat No. 5 South seed Clayton State 75-71 in the first round of the Peach Belt Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday.
"We expected a game that was going to be tight," USC Aiken head coach Mike Roberts said. "When you come into the tournament you're just looking to go to the next round. We made our mistakes, we just didn't make enough."
With the victory, the Pacers (14-13) set a PBAC Tournament team record of 13 blocks in a game. USC Aiken advances to the quarterfinals and will play South No. 1 seed Georgia College and State University (21-4) on Monday at 6 p.m.
With the game tied at 69-all, Tyson Bouknight hit a layup to give USC Aiken a two-point lead with 1:18 remaining.
The Pacers made two defensive stands and Corey Faggins knocked down two free throws to put USC Aiken up 73-69 with 14.5 seconds left in the game.
Clayton State's Robert Conley trimmed the lead to 73-71 on a layup with 6.5 seconds remaining, but Moore finished off the Lakers with a two-handed slam dunk to end the game.
"We didn't play well tonight," said Moore, whose Pacers turned the ball over 22 times. "But we got the win."
Trailing by six at the half, the Pacers opened the second half on a 7-0 run. Faggins made a driving layup to give USC Aiken a 39-38 lead with 16:32 remaining.
Mike Ruth hit a 16-footer to give the Lakers a 62-56 lead. But Wiley hit a 15-foot baseline jumper and added a fast-break dunk to put USC Aiken up 67-64 with 4:33 left in the game.
Conley, however, made one free throw to tie the game at 69-all with 2:12 remaining.
In the first half, Wiley converted a three-point play to give the Pacers a 14-7 lead. But the Lakers went on a 9-0 run, capped by A.J. Rials' layup, to take a 16-14 lead.
After Conley and Faggins traded 3-pointers, Charlie Frazier made a layup to give Clayton State a 26-25 lead.
Damien Williams extended the Lakers' lead to 36-29 on a driving layup with 3:30 left in the half.
But the Pacers soon caught a break as Conley picked up his third foul with 58.5 seconds left in the first half. Moore hit a driving layup with 2.9 seconds left to cut Clayton State's lead to 38-32 at the half.
Wiley and Moore each had double-doubles as Wiley added a team-high 10 rebounds while Moore had 11 points. Faggins added 16 points, while Leon Brunson had 10 points with eight assists.
Moore returned to the lineup just ten days ago from a serious ankle injury suffered on Jan. 9.
"My ankle is fine," Moore said. "It doesn't affect me. My problem is fitness."
In other action Saturday, No. 4 South seed North Florida defeated No. 5 North seed UNC Pembroke 70-64 and advances to play No. 1 North seed Augusta State on Monday at noon.
Yaron Lahat made a driving lay-in with 0.6 seconds left in overtime to give No. 3 North seed Francis Marion a 55-53 win over No. 6 South seed Kennesaw State. The Patriots will play No. 2 South seed Columbus State on Monday at 2 p.m.
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