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Pacers build 25-point halftime lead and cruise past Bearcats, 96-72

Pacers build 25-point halftime lead and cruise past Bearcats, 96-72

GREENWOOD – Markus Terry scored 25 points to lead five double-figure scorers as USC Aiken built a 25-point halftime lead and cruised to a 96-72 Peach Belt Conference victory over the Lander Bearcats Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena.

Lander lost its fourth straight game, falling to 6-11 overall, 2-9 in the Peach Belt.

The Pacers improved to 10-5, 7-4.

It was a big day at Horne Arena as the school celebrated the 50th season of Lander basketball. Former players, coaches and staff members were honored on the floor at halftime.

Aiken shot 58 percent from the floor in each half, making 36 of 62 shots from the floor overall.

Terry made nine of 12 shots from the floor to lead all scorers.

Kyle Tackeberry added 16 points for the Pacers, Faison Brock scored 13 points, Doniel Dean had 11 points and a game-high five assists, and Robert Hill contributed 11 points including four dunks while also blocking three shots. Brock led Aiken with seven rebounds.

Srdjan Ivic paced Lander with 15 points, Rahu Purdie scored 14, Sergio Smith added 11 points and a game-high nine rebounds, Nicklas Jonsson scored 10 points and Sidney Robinson pitched in nine points.

Aiken took a 24-11 lead on Terry's 3-pointer with 11:31 left. Zane Rankin scored twice during a 6-0 run that closed the Bearcats within 24-17 at the midway point of the first half. But the Pacers quickly pulled away again.

Hill's offensive rebound dunk ignited a 14-5 Aiken run as the advantage grew to 38-22 with 5:27 to go. Smith's free throws pulled Lander within 42-26 at the 3:10 mark. But Hill added two more dunks as the Pacers scored the game's next 11 points.

Ivic's layup at the buzzer left the Bearcats with a 53-28 halftime deficit.

Aiken made 19 of 33 shots from the floor in the first half (58 percent).

Lander got off to a good start in the second half when TJ Knight converted a three-point play and Robinson put back his own miss, pulling the hosts within 53-33.

But the momentum didn't last long as Aiken responded with a 12-0 run including 3s by Brock and Terry for a 65-33 advantage with 16:35 to go.

Purdie's long 3 pulled the Bearcats within 74-50 with 10:08 left. But Aiken's lead grew back to 30 points at 81-51 on Terry's layup just inside the nine-minute mark.

Tackeberry's 3 upped Aiken's advantage to 90-56 with 4:19 to go.

Jonsson and Purdie made 3s and Smith got a steal and dunk in the closing minutes for the Bearcats.