USCA men give up late run in loss

Feb. 4—LANDER 82, USC AIKEN 68

A back-and-forth battle swung hard in the wrong direction Saturday for the USC Aiken men's basketball team.

The Pacers trailed visiting Lander by just a point with 6:46 remaining following a Jameel Rideout 3-pointer, but the Bearcats responded with a 15-2 run to put the game away in an 82-68 victory at the Convocation Center.

Lander (16-6, 8-4 Peach Belt Conference) hit six consecutive shots and a free throw during a run that was emblematic of the Bearcats' second half. They shot 63% as a team over the final 20 minutes and went 7-for-15 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Jalen McCoy scored 20 points to lead USCA (15-7, 8-4), Tyler Johnson had 15 and Tehree Horn had 14. But the Pacers couldn't get the stops they needed down the stretch in a home loss that keeps them tied for third in the PBC standings.

Lander's Navaughn Maise and Jared Sherfield combined to go 18-for-25 from the field for a total of 49 points.

USCA led by as many as nine points in the first half, but Lander countered that with an 11-0 run on the way to a 34-33 lead at the half.

A Johnson dunk put the Pacers up six with 16:08 remaining. The Bearcats chipped away at that lead, and Noah Dunn's 3-pointer with 11:41 to play gave them the lead for good.

USCA, Lander and Young Harris are all tied at 8-4 in the PBC with six games remaining. North Georgia is currently alone in second at 8-3 — the Nighthawks' had a game against Clayton State get postponed — while Augusta has the outright lead at 10-2.

Up next for the Pacers is a road game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Georgia College.