Aiken, S.C. – USC Aiken held Augusta State to its lowest scoring effort of the year in the Pacers' 56-50 Peach Belt Conference win Wednesday night in the Convocation Center.
USC Aiken (19-6, 15-3 in PBC) outrebounded ASU (13-12, 8-10) 34-to-21 and never let go of the lead in the second half.
Aiken went on a 10-point run in the opening half after ASU sophomore D'Angelo Boyce netted the first points of the game. Senior Travis Keels killed the Pacers' stretch as the Jags climbed back in it for a 13-all game after two free throws from freshman Michael Graham.
The Jags' season-leading scorer Ryan Weems got into foul trouble early and the Pacers took over. A 3-pointer from Ronald Zimmerman and four points from DeVontae Wright made it 25-19, but ASU head coach Dip Metress felt Weems was ready. Metress entered Weems who hit three layups in a row to tie the game for a 27-all halftime score. Weems and Boyce led all scorers in the half with eight points each, with the Jags shooting 47 percent from the floor.
Aiken's Santoine Butler scored six points for USCA as they reached their biggest lead of the game (40-30) with 8:15 on the clock. ASU sophomore Devon Wright-Nelson hit a 3-pointer at the right arc for the Jags' only points of the second half until the 7:26 mark. Graham hit a pair from the charity stripe to bring the Jags within 10, but Aiken never let up.
Zimmerman netted a four-point play, but Boyce hit a jumper in traffic for ASU at 4:00 minutes for a 48-43 disadvantage. Jags sophomore Devonte Thomas drained a jumper and hit one from the free throw line to keep ASU close. With a chance to cut the game to one, the Jags turned it over in transition – resulting in two USCA free throws. ASU missed two 3-pointers with under 2 minutes to play, dismissing any chance of a comeback as the Pacers took the second meeting 66-60.
ASU shot only 38 percent to USCA's 46 and were outscored in the paint 34-to-14. Boyce paced the Jags with 13 points, while Thomas and Weems notched 11 and 10. The Pacers' Butler and Paul Larsen each added 13 points, with Butler adding 11 rebounds.
The Jags play their last PBC game on Saturday, Mar. 2 at Flagler for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff in the Flagler Gymnasium.