Late Pacer Rally Falls Just Short in Home Loss to King
AIKEN, S.C. - Behind 11 second half points from Ronald Zimmerman the USC Aiken men's basketball team mounted a furious second half comeback, but it would prove in the end to be not be enough as the Pacers concluded their 2009-10 regular season with an 83-82 loss to King College at the Convocation Center.
The loss to the Tornado dropped the Pacers to 16-10 on the year. King College improved to 21-4 on the season with the win over the Pacers. King has now won nine in a row.
The Pacers entered the second half down by 20 to the Tornado, who finished their efforts in the first half shooting 61.8 percent (21-for-34). The Tornado hit 66.7 percent (8-of-12) of their three-point attempts in the first half.
The 20-point deficit did not deter the Pacers, who came out firing in the second half.
The majority of USC Aiken's tremendous comeback came in the latter minutes of the second half as the Pacers first cut the lead into single digits after a Zimmerman (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) three-pointer with 3:34 remaining in the second half.
Almost two minutes later, the Pacers sat behind just five at 75-70 after a Seth Leonard (York, Pa./William Penn) trey from the top of the arc.
In the double bonus, the Tornado did not take advantage at the charity stripe in the waning minutes, making just one of two free throw attempts the majority of the time to leave the door open for the Pacers.
The Pacers' late second half offensive barrage continued with Re'mon Nelson (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Canal Winchester) nailing a three-pointer to place the Pacers behind by just two at 81-79 with just over 30 seconds left in the contest.
After King's Brian Hewitt hit his two ensuing free throws to give the Tornado a four-point advantage at 83-79, Nelson knocked down another three-pointer with four seconds left. The clutch three by Nelson left the Pacers behind just one at 83-82 with four seconds remaining.
Casey McMasters (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) promptly fouled Hewitt, who missed both of his free throw attempts.
USC Aiken's Rashad Flowers (Charleston, S.C./Garrett Academy) plucked the carom and then dished to Nelson, who desperately tried to then get the ball in position for a last second shot. Nelson had the ball stolen from him by King's Elisha Murray, preserving the hard-fought one-point victory for the Tornado.
The Pacers held the Tornado to a dim shooting performance in the second half from the field as King was only able to knock down six field goals and hit upon just 27.3 percent (6-for-22) of its shot attempts in the half. King scored the majority of its points in the second half at the charity stripe where they hit 14 of their 24 (58.3 percent) attempts.
In turn, USC Aiken ended the second half hitting 16 field goals. The Pacers, who were an overall 41 percent from the floor in the second half, collected nine of their 16 field goals in the half from beyond the arc.
USC Aiken as a team finished the game shooting 39.4 percent (28-for-71). King took 15 less shots and hit upon 48.2 percent (27-for-56) of their attempts in the game.
USC Aiken had five players in double figures. Nelson led the way with 14 points, three assists and a steal.
Zimmerman finished just behind him with 13 points, while Byron Faison (Sumter, S.C./Crestwood) ended his efforts with 12 points. McMasters (11) and Leonard (10) were the final two Pacers in double figures.
Leonard finished with 12 boards to collect his second double-double in the last three Pacer games.
King had five players finish in double figures with Murray leading the way with 27 points. Murray was 10-for-14 from the field in the Tornado win.
USC Aiken will next play in the first round of the 2010 Marvin Vanover Peach Belt Conference Basketball Championship. The Pacers know that they are playing Francis Marion, but the site is yet to be determined. Currently, USC Aiken is a half-game up on the Patriots. A FMU loss tonight to Armstrong Atlantic would give the Pacers home court advantage, but a Patriot win would mean that the Pacers would travel to Florence to square off against their in-state and league rival.