SAVANNAH, Ga. - USC Aiken hit 9-of-12 three-pointers during one first-half stretch and downed 14 in the game to pick up a 96-82 Peach belt Conference men's basketball victory over host Armstrong State University on Wednesday evening at Alumni Arena.
The loss extended Armstrong State's slide to six games as the Pirates fell to 6-11 overall and 1-7 in the PBC. USC Aiken improves to 12-4 overall and 6-3 in the league with the win. Armstrong State returns to action on Saturday, traveling to Lander to take on the Bearcats at 3:30 p.m. in Greenwood, S.C.
The hot shooting stretch for the Pacers started with the Pirates leading by three, 21-18, half way through the first half. Christian Nobles hit three straight three-pointers to put the Pacers up by four, then Austin Grimes followed with a pair. The Pirates kept pace as a tip-in by Demarcus Cunningham gave the Pirates a 36-35 lead with 3:28 left in the first half, but USC Aiken outscored the Pirates 13-4 - including two more three-pointers - to take a 48-40 lead into the break.
USC Aiken built a 16-point lead, 84-68, with 4:31 left after a three-pointer by Mark Matthews, but the Pirates were able to cut that lead to seven on three straight threes by freshman Corey Tillery that made the score 85-78 with 2:21 left. USC Aiken clinched the game by making 7-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes.
USC Aiken placed five players in double figures, led by Nobles' game-high 25 points. Matthews finished with 17 points, while Jalin Barnes and Grimes each had 14 points, with Robert Hill adding 10 points off the bench.