USC Aiken Drops Heartbreaker to AASU
AIKEN, S.C. - USC Aiken led by as many as 11 points in the second half, but a seven-point differential in the second half earned Armstrong Atlantic State a 77-76 victory over the Pacers on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center.
USC Aiken entered the final minute of the contest up by four points at 76-72, but a Keron McKenzie three-pointer with 43 seconds remaining cut the Pacer advantage to just one at 76-75.
The Pacers turned the basketball over on their next offensive possession on a backcourt violation to give the Pirates life. Armstrong Atlantic took advantage as Gabriel Robinson cleaned up a Patrick Shokpeka missed jumper with eight seconds left to garner Armstrong Atlantic State a 77-76 lead. USC Aiken's last second shot attempt by Sterling Council (Camden, S.C./Camden) just rimmed out to give the Pirates the one-point victory over the Pacers.
The loss dropped the Pacers to 10-7 in the Peach Belt Conference. USC Aiken is now 15-9 overall. Armstrong Atlantic won its 10th contest of the year to improve to 10-15 overall. AASU is now 5-11 in PBC action.
Before a Homecoming and Senior Night crowd of 3,123, Seth Leonard (York, Pa./William Penn) was the star for the Pacers, finishing his final regular season conference game at the Convocation Center with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double was the first of the season for Leonard, who finished the game 7-for-12 from the field. He had five offensive and five defensive boards in the game.
Leonard was one of five Pacers to collect double figures with Council and Rashad Flowers (Charleston, S.C./Garrett Academy) both adding 11. Flowers also had five rebounds. Council ended his evening with four assists.
The final two Pacers in double figures were guards Mark Brown (Charlotte, N.C./Hickory Grove Christian) and Brandon Shephard (Indian Trail, N.C./High Point) with both concluding the game with 10 points each.
Shokpeka was the catalyst for the Pirates in their upset win, ending the contest with a game-high 22 points. He was 9-for-19 from the field.
As a team, USC Aiken finished their efforts shooting 47.5 percent (28-for-59). The Pirates shot just a little better at 48.1 percent (25-for-52).
USC Aiken will next conclude its 2009-10 Peach Belt Conference campaign with a road game at Lander at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The contest is the second game of a men's and women's basketball doubleheader as the USC Aiken women are slated to take on the nationally-ranked Lander women prior to the men's game at 5:30 p.m.