Josh Poston was trying to put pressure on Carson-Newman point guard Braun Dabbs.
The USC Aiken freshman had just hit two free throws to put the Pacers up by five points with 5 seconds to go. Poston thought Dabbs would drive to the basket; instead, Dabbs pulled up for a quick 3-point attempt and Poston clobbered him.
Pacers coach Mike Roberts was fuming.
"I was trying to avoid him," Poston said.
Roberts "gave me an earful," said Poston, who ended up with a nice shiner on his left eye from one of Dabbs' elbows.
Poston was fortunate, though; despite Dabbs' 34 points, the Pacers held off the Eagles and won the game 69-67 at The Courthouse on Sunday.
USC Aiken is off to a 3-0 start after winning both games of its ConocoPhillips Tip-Off Classic.
It's the first time the Pacers have beaten the Eagles in the teams' past six meetings. After the Eagles gave up a halftime lead, they nearly pulled off the win. USC Aiken had a nine-point lead with less than a minute to go, but turnovers and fouls nearly cost them the game.
"We're young," Roberts said. "We had freshmen out on the floor. We just made some mistakes."
Poston was forced into point-guard duty when starter Trent Boyd fouled out of the game with 1:03 left. Junior transfer Richard Blocker, sophomore transfer Josh Geyer, freshman Kenny Burr and junior transfer Arnold Coates joined Poston on the floor for the final minute.
Curt Triplin, the Pacers' lone senior, came out for the bulk of the game's deciding minute, when Roberts used a smaller lineup.
Despite having little game-time familiarity with his new teammates, Triplin said he wasn't worried.
"I've got a lot of confidence in my teammates," said Triplin, who is one of two returning players. "I knew they weren't going to lose."
The Augusta State men's basketball team (2-0) is also off to an undefeated start after blowing out Carver Bible College in the earlier game.
The Jaguars' bench outnumbered the Cougars' (0-8) bench 4-to-1 and outscored it 89-14. Junior-college transfer Bryan Turner led the Jaguars with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting from behind the 3-point line. And Turner didn't even make it into Saturday's win against Carson-Newman.
"Hopefully, that should get me some more minutes in the future," Turner said.
The Jaguars set three school records and tied a fourth in a game that was never close. Augusta State's 16 three-pointers, 40 assists and 68-point win all were new school marks. Cameron Tovey, Turner, Bryan Gates, Jason Mills, Tyrekus Bowman and Arthur Thomas all reached double figures in points, which tied a school record at six.
Reach Kristy Shonka at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.