Council Connects in Final Second to Lead Pacers to Thrilling Win over Life
AIKEN, S.C. - Sterling Council hit a 17-foot jumper from the right corner with just seven-tenths of a second left on the game clock in overtime to lead USC Aiken to a thrilling 87-85 overtime victory over NAIA 23rd-ranked Life before a crowd of 2,136 at the Convocation Center on Wednesday evening.
The extra frame victory improved the Pacers to 1-0 on the young 2009-10 season. Life is now 5-2 on the year.
Life's Greg Brown had hit a driving lay-up with six seconds left in overtime to tie the game at 85-85. The Pacers quickly pushed the ball up the court with Jesse Seilern Und Aspang (Kapfenberg, Austria/Kapfenberg) finding an open Council (Camden, S.C./Camden) for the first game-winning field goal of his career.
The Pacers entered halftime up by five points at 49-44. USC Aiken, which ended the first half downing 45.5 percent (15-for-33) of its field goals, went a little cold in the second stanza from the charity stripe and the field. The Pacers were down by as many as six points to Life with 4:46 left in regulation.
USC Aiken battled back to within three after a three-pointer by Casey McMasters (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) that cut the Running Eagle advantage in half at 78-75. True freshman point guard Re'mon Nelson (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Canal Winchester) made sure that Life's advances on winning the game would be for naught, nailing a long-range three-pointer with 19 seconds left to square the game at 78-78. The Pacer defense would then hold serve to send the game into overtime.
USC Aiken concluded the contest shooting 37.5 percent (24-for-64) from the field. Life in turn connected on 42.4 percent (25-for-59) of their attempts from the floor in the game. The Pacers as usual were deadly from beyond the arc where they hit on 10 of their 24 attempts (41.7 percent).
The Pacers were guided by four players in double figures. McMasters led all Pacers in the contest with 18 total points. McMasters hit four of USC Aiken's eight three-pointers in the game. He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
Jakub Gadomski (Wroclaw, Poland/Community Christian) and Nelson both finished with 12 points in the contest. Gadomski acquired the majority of his points from the free throw line where he was 6-of-8. Nelson guided the Pacers offense by once again flirting with a triple-double with 12 points, seven rebounds and eight assists.
The final Pacer in double-digits was Seth Leonard (York, Pa./William Penn). He finished his evening with 10 points on a 5-for-7 shooting performance.
Council was close to obtaining double-digits after the game-winner with nine points.
Life's Tay Barber was the top scorer in the contest with 26 total points. Barber was 7-for-15 from the floor and 10-for-12 from the free throw en route to the game-high 26 points.
USC Aiken will next hit the road for the first time in the regular season to play in the Catawba Classic hosted by South Atlantic Conference power and 2009 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional participant Catawba on Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21. The Pacers will open the event by taking on Catawba at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. USC Aiken will close out the event by squaring off against Pfeiffer at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21.
The game with the Indians of Catawba is a rematch of last year's Division II Southeast Regional semifinal that the Pacers took, 85-72.
The Catawba contest will be able to be followed through a live audio webcast and live stats. To access these features through gocatawbaindians.com, click on the live stats and audio link on the pacersports.com upcoming schedule on the main page once the game has started.