Home court raises game

The way USC Aiken is playing at home this season, the school needs to give its new convocation center a nickname. How about "The House that Vince Built?"

In the first season in their $17 million arena, the sixth-ranked Pacers are 10-0 at home entering tonight's 7:30 tilt against UNC Pembroke. A win would give USC Aiken the longest home winning streak in school history. In the previous nine seasons, the Pacers posted just one winning at-home record.

"At home, I think our guys just get up for the games," USC Aiken coach Vince Alexander said. "I think our atmosphere has been incredible. Our guys feed off that."

USC Aiken will have a major home-court advantage when it plays host to next month's Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

SHOWING SPIRIT

USC Aiken is leading the Peach Belt in home attendance, averaging 1,355 fans a game -- an increase of almost 500 from last season.

A school-record crowd of 2,755 turned out for the previous game, a homecoming win over North Georgia.

JUST WIN, BABY: PART I

With a win tonight, the Pacers (20-2) would notch their most victories in a season since the 1992-93 campaign. The school record is 24.

"I think it shows the progress we've made in such a short time," Alexander said. "We sold guys on a dream and they picked up on that."

JUST WIN, BABY: PART II

The Lady Pacers (16-6, 9-6), who play host to the Lady Braves at 5:30 p.m., need to keep winning to lock up one of the top six seeds for the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. The top six teams automatically advance to the quarterfinals. The bottom four play in the first round with the winners advancing to play the Peach Belt's top two teams.

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.