Originally created 01/15/04

Duo propels Pacers



AIKEN - Telling his team not to overlook hapless UNC Pembroke was not an easy task for USC Aiken coach Mike Roberts.

How does one stay focused on a team that went 0-28 last season and entered Wednesday's game with a 1-11 record?

"I'm convinced that with the Internet and cell phones, they're well aware of anyone," Roberts said.

Bryant Latimer and Lee Burton combined for 50 points as the Pacers pulled away from the Braves for a 97-82 victory at The Courthouse.

Latimer scored a career-high 28 to pace USC Aiken, while Burton added 22. Todd Williams chipped in with 16 points, while Minda Statkus (13 points, 13 rebounds) and Curt Triplin (12 points, 10 rebounds).

The Pacers (7-7, 1-2 Peach Belt Conference) shot 53 percent from the floor, including a 11-for-24 from 3-point range.

"I'm real happy we got a conference win," Roberts said. "I'm real happy we won at home. I'm not happy with the way we played."

USC Aiken trailed 14-13 before Burton canned a pair of 3-pointers and later dished to Latimer on the wing for a three. The Pacers added two more 3-pointers during an 18-4 run as they jumped out to a 31-18 lead.

Leading by nine at halftime, USC Aiken clamped down on defense in the second half held UNC Pembroke to three baskets during a seven-minute stretch as they extended its lead to 19 with 6:40 remaining.

In the women's game, USC Aiken went 10-for-19 from 3-point range and for a 78-53 win.

The Lady Pacers, who haven't lost to UNC Pembroke since Feb. 5, 2000, shot 56 percent in the first half as they coasted to the victory.

"I don't necessarily think this was breather," USC Aiken coach Mike Brandt said. "We shot the ball extremely well in the first half. If we don't shoot well, it's a much closer game."

The Lady Braves led 13-9 in the first half before USC Aiken's perimeter game got in sync. The Lady Pacers nailed seven 3-pointer the final 11 minutes of the half. USC Aiken led 43-27 at halftime.

Erica Larsen scored a game-high 15 for USC Aiken. Kasey Mills added 13 points, while Sarah Kendrick had 11.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222, ext. 114.