USCA knocks off No. 3 Lincoln Memorial
USCA 79, No. 3 LINCOLN MEMORIAL 68
USC Aiken head coach Mark Vanderslice knew Saturday’s game against Lincoln Memorial would be a test for his team. The Pacers passed, achieving all the goals Vanderslice set out for them and delivering a statement with a 79-68 victory against the No. 3 team in the nation.
It was the USCA’s first win over a nationally ranked team since 2014 when they knocked off No. 18 Montevallo and the first win against a top-10 team since a 2011 victory against Benedict.
“Lincoln Memorial’s the benchmark,” Vanderslice said of the team which has won two of the past three southeast regional championships. “The win goes to these fellas tonight, and now we go into a game and we’ve got to expect to win those type of battles.”
Vanderslice was especially proud of his team’s resolve once things got tight in the second half.
The Pacers led by as many as 10 points in the first half and the lead hovered around 6 points for much of the game, but Lincoln Memorial made a push early in the second half. The Railsplitters’ first lead of the game came with 12:28 left to play. After some back-and-forth action, USCA went on a 12-2 run to take an 11-point lead with just more than five minutes left.
“We felt all the momentum shift towards us,” Rob Hill said. “It really just kind of took the wind out of their sails, and we could just tell they were kind of losing focus and losing their momentum. We just took advantage of it.”
Hill was also a big component of what Vanderslice said was the deciding factor in the game – the Pacers defense on the perimeter. USCA held LMU to 27 percent from beyond the arc – better than the 30 percent Vanderslice said he told his team was the goal. The Pacers limited LMU guard Cornelius Taylor to mostly highly contested shots.
“You don’t find defensive assignments on the stat sheet,” Vanderslice said.
Our defensive assignments won the game tonight. The guys ended up locking in and knowing their role.”
The Pacers didn’t do too bad on the offensive end either
Four Pacers finished in double digits. They were led by Doniel Dean, who scored 22. Xzavier Barmore scored 16 points, and Faison Brock finished with 15. Ty’lik Evans, who was a spark plug on both ends of the floor scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals.
USC Aiken will return to action on Wednesday against Claflin.