By Chris Gay
Staff Writer, Augusta Chronicle
AIKEN - Picked to finish ninth in the Peach Belt Conference preseason coaches poll, USC Aiken finds itself tied for the North Division lead.
The Pacers stifled the Jaguars offense, held off a second-half charge and defeated Augusta State 53-51 at the Courthouse on Wednesday night.
``We came into this game and felt like we were playing for the top spot in the (PBC) North Division,'' Pacers coach Mike Roberts said. ``This was like a tournament game.''
USC Aiken (10-5, 5-1) held Augusta State (10-5, 5-1) to 28 percent shooting from the field. The two teams are now tied atop the division.
The Pacers, which shot just 31 percent from the floor, held a 51-48 lead and had the ball with just less than a minute remaining. But Areon Atkinson drew all air on a 3-point attempt, and Augusta State had a chance to tie the game.
Festus Hawkins tried to set a pick for 3-point threat Gary Boodnikoff on the right wing. With a man in his face, the junior guard forced up a bomb from the left corner.
The ball bounced off the back iron, and a scramble ensued for the loose ball. Art Salary ended up with the ball and was fouled with seven seconds left in the game. The Pacers guard drained two free throws to clinch the game.
``We set a little double screen for (Boodnikoff), and he was a little late coming off the screen,'' Jaguars coach Gary Tuell said. ``It's tough to get guys open against Aiken because they have quick defenders.''
The Pacers held the Jaguars to just four field goals in the first 15 minutes and went up 19-12 when Salary dunked his own missed shot.
Atkinson and Dain Brown combined for 5-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc in the first half. Atkinson swished a 21-footer with 4:03 left before halftime to give USC Aiken a 28-15 lead.
T.J. Ott scored the Jaguars' sixth field goal of the half on a fast-break lay-in. But USC Aiken's Eric Dugans hit a baseline jumper, and the Pacers took a 30-17 halftime lead.
Hawkins, who carried the Jaguars with all 21 of his points in the second half, made eight straight free throws in the first six minutes of the second half, and Augusta State closed the gap to 32-29.
Five minutes later, Brown drove the baseline and scored on a reverse layup, which gave the Pacers a seven-point lead with 9:40 remaining in the game.
March 27, 2001 Hawkins and Boodnikoff Named to the NABC All-Region Team
March 11, 2001 Jaguars look to next season
March 10, 2001 Magical Season Comes to an End for Jaguars
March 10, 2001 Augusta State knocked out of tournament
March 10, 2001 Rams' stifling 'D' steamrolls Jaguars
March 9, 2001 Jaguars are a 'can do' team
March 9, 2001 Jaguars top Catawba College 96-84
March 8, 2001 Jaguars ready to take on Catawba
March 7, 2001 Augusta State coach ready for challenge
March 5, 2001 Augusta State Men’s Basketball Itinerary
March 5, 2001 Augusta State earns 6th seed
March 3, 2001 Jaguars reign in Peach Belt
March 3, 2001 Augusta State Wins Peach Belt Tournament Title
March 2, 2001 ASU Defeats USC Aiken in PBC Semifinals
March 1, 2001 Jaguars top Clayton State
February 24, 2001 ASU Wraps North Division Top-Seed With 83-65 Win Over Francis Marion
February 21, 2001 No. 22 Pirates Win 16th Straight, Defeat ASU 58-45
February 17, 2001 ASU Falls to Georgia College & State
February 15, 2001 ASU 89, Francis Marion 73
February 14, 2001 ASU Rolls Over Francis Marion 89-73
February 11, 2001 Jaguars celebrate homecoming with win
February 10, 2001 ASU Rolls Over North Florida 93-50
February 10, 2001 Jaguars face North Florida at home
February 7, 2001 ASU Moves Back Into First Place With 70-63 Win Over UNC Pembroke
February 3, 2001 Senators down Augusta State 68-60
February 1, 2001 Jaguars defeat Pacers 72-63
January 31, 2001 ASU Moves Back Into First Place With 72-63 Win Over USC Aiken
January 29, 2001 Records Fall as ASU Defeats Life University 108-87
January 24, 2001 Jaguars suffer tough setback vs. Kennesaw
January 20, 2001 TJ Ott Leads ASU to 61-47 Win over USC Spartanburg
January 18, 2001 Pacers edge Jaguars 53-51
January 17, 2001 Second Half Rally Falls Short as ASU Falls to USCA
January 17, 2001 Jaguars, Pacers renew PBC rivalry
January 16, 2001 Paine tops ASU in City Classic
January 15, 2001 Paine Defeats ASU 68-58 Behind Yari Scott’s 27 Points
January 15, 2001 Gary Boodnikoff Named Peach Belt Player of the Week
January 14, 2001 Jaguars remain at top of league
January 13, 2001 Gary Boodnikoff Scores 26 in 80-53 Win Over Lander
January 10, 2001 Braves and Jaguars Split Peach Belt Doubleheader
January 8, 2001 Festus Hawkins Lifts ASU to 64-63 Overtime Win
January 7, 2001 Jaguars give Harris win number 1
January 6, 2001 Augusta State Defeats Columbus State 74-57
January 4, 2001 ASU Men and Women Sweep Clayton State
January 3, 2001 Augusta State Defeats Clayton State 65-54
December 21, 2000 Augusta State’s Gary Tuell to Host Holiday Basketball Clinic ... Again
December 18, 2000 Augusta State Falls To Life, 72-55
December 13, 2000 Augusta State’s Gary Tuell to Host Holiday Basketball Clinic
December 13, 2000 Festus Hawkins and Sharon Taylor Ranked Nationally
December 10, 2000 Fast start lifts Jags past Savannah State
December 9, 2000 Festus Hawkins Powers ASU Over Savannah State 87-67
December 2, 2000 Augusta State Defeats Lenoir-Rhyne 71-55
December 1, 2000 ASU Falls to 10th-Ranked Wingate 103-88
November 30, 2000 ASU Defeats Rollins 70-68
November 27, 2000 ASU Defeats West Georgia 66-61 in Home Opener
November 22, 2000 Augusta State Notches First Win at Savannah State 68-45
November 17, 2000 West Georgia Defeats Augusta State 76-74 in Overtime Thriller
November 11, 2000 Augusta State Defeats ASU Alumni/CSRA Select Team 91-55
October 14, 2000 Augusta State to host Midnight Madness Saturday, October 14
October 11, 2000 ASU Seeking Third Straight Peach Belt North Division Title
October 10, 2000 Augusta State Men’s Basketball Opens 2000-01 Season at West Georgia