UNCP holds USC Aiken to year’s lowest score
By Jason Huff
Assistant Sports Editor
The Braves defensive effort held No. 9 USC Aiken basketball team to its lowest offensive total of the year and kept the game close until the end, but was not enough as the Pacers extend the score late to a final of 47-38.
UNCP shot 40.5 percent from the field and won the battle in the paint. Although USC Aiken only shot 35 percent from the field, they dominated the boards with a plus 13 rebounding difference, which lead them to 10 second chance points. The Pacers also were proficient from 3-point range, shooting 50 percent in the second half and 35.3 percent for the game while the Braves only shot 21.4 percent from three point range.
USC Aiken is the No. 1 team in the Peach Belt Conference with a record of 16-2 overall and 10-1 in conference play.
“I’m proud of my guys’ performance. They put forth a great effort,” said UNCP head coach Jason Tinsley. “USC Aiken is a very good team, as evident by their play.
“I thought we made them play at our pace and kept the game slow, grinding them on offense,” Tinsley added.
“We held their leading scorer, Chris Commons, to only seven points.”
The Braves only lead was by two points extremely early in the game.
Despite that they played the Pacers close and kept the point deficit to five points at the half. Shooting guard Zach Honeycutt’s late two point basket with only two seconds left on the clock gave the Braves confidence heading into the half.
It took only three minutes for USC Aiken to extend the lead in the second half to 10 points but the Braves rallied back. Among other scorers, two three pointers by Honeycutt brought the Pacer’s lead back to two points with 12:14 left in the game.
The Pacers extended their lead quickly and held it as they handed the Braves their ninth loss in a row.
This loss brought the Braves overall record to 6-11 and 1-9 in the Peach Belt Conference.
Pacers guard Kingsley Oguchi led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds while shooting 4-8 from three point range.
Cordaryl Ballard, Chris Commons and Job Casimir added seven points each in the Pacers victory.
Honeycutt led the Braves with 13 points and shot a perfect 5-5 from the field.
Jonathan Hart added 10, and Cortex Brown added six points in the Braves loss.
“We got a great game out of Zach Honeycutt who shot perfect from the floor,” said Tinsley.
“I told my guys that there are three ways to get in the paint: cut, throw, and drive. They made that effort tonight.”
UNCP has lost nine straight games, with two of those loses in overtime.
This game may be the stepping stone to snap the streak.