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USC Aiken, Augusta split rivalry doubleheader

Posted: January 31, 2018 - 1:23am
USC Aiken’s Austin Grimes (left) battles with Augusta University’s Tyvez Monroe for a rebound during their Peach Belt Conference game at the convocation center in Aiken.

AIKEN - Melyk Taouil turned to the bench and shrugged her shoulders after banking a long 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer.

It was that kind of night for the USC Aiken women.

The Pacers outscored Augusta University by seven in the second quarter and pushed their way to a double-digit lead, resulting in a 72-52 victory on Wednesday night at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

The Augusta men charged back from a 15-point deficit to top USC Aiken 95-79 in the second game of the doubleheader.

USC Aiken's women (5-13, 2-10 Peach Belt Conference) dug their way out of the conference cellar with a second consecutive win after beating Lander by two Saturday. The Pacers won their third in a row over their rival.

"I'm really proud of our team," USC Aiken coach Mark Miller said. "We came out and played hard for 40 minutes. I'm really proud of how we're coming together and competing hard for 40 minutes. That was really the problem for us early in the year. We're doing a better job now."

Augusta (3-13, 1-11) continued to fall by losing its 10th in a row.

Phenecia Howard scored a game-high 20 points for USC Aiken, while Emily Waters had 16 with eight rebounds and Taouil added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Joshlyn Belcher led Augusta with 19 points and Jahmia Bradley added 12.

After reaching a tie at 16, USC Aiken found its groove with an 8-2 run for a 24-18 advantage, which proved to be the deciding push that gave the Pacers the lead for good. They outscored Augusta 20-13 in the second for a 34-23 lead at the break.

The Pacers scored the final five points of the half, starting with a jumper from Marissa Bruce. Taouil followed by sprinting to the 3-point arc in the closing seconds and throwing up a 3 that banked in at the buzzer.

"I think I made it one time in practice," Taouil quipped. "It was a bank. I didn't call a bank."

USC Aiken carried that momentum to a 46-33 lead through the third quarter. The first 20-point advantage came at 8:00 on two free throws from Kyrie' Chandler. Howard made two consecutive 3-pointers late to seal the victory. In the men's game, the Pacers raced to a 23-8 advantage behind lights-out 3-point shooting, but the Jaguars rallied over the final 10 minutes of the first half to reach a tie at 41 at the break. With Tamyrik Fields and Deane Williams in early foul trouble, Vlad Cobzaru, Tyvez Monroe and Aaron Byrd carried the Jaguars through the comeback.

The momentum reached the second half as Augusta scored the first eight points and reached a double-digit lead at 52-42 at 16:01. The lead continued to grow as Augusta found a shooting groove at 57 percent in the second half while USC Aiken struggled at a 42 percent clip.

"We hung around and were able to survive the first half," Augusta coach Dip Metress said. "Great team effort. Glad (Fields) came back in the game and got it going. It was a good win for us."

Fields scored 26 points, including 24 in the second half for Augusta (10-8, 7-5) He reached 1,000 career points on a tip-in with 4:15 left. Cobzaru and Byrd each added 15 as the Jaguars won their seventh in a row against the Pacers.

USC Aiken (10-6, 7-5) was led by Doniel Dean's 27 points, while Markus Terry added 18.

 

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