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Bearcats' upset bid falls short against No. 6 Pacers as Wiggins score 33

Bearcats' upset bid falls short against No. 6 Pacers as Wiggins score 33

GREENWOOD – The Lander men's basketball team got 33 points from Marquel Wiggins but its upset bid of No. 6-ranked USC Aiken fell short 108-103 in Peach Belt Conference action Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena.

The Bearcats fell to 11-15 overall, 10-10 in the PBC. Lander's four-game home winning streak was snapped.

The Pacers swept the season series, improving to 24-2 overall and 18-2 in the Peach Belt.

Wiggins made 13 of 19 shots from the floor for the Bearcats, including five of six from behind the three-point line while sharing team-high honors with seven rebounds.

Jordan Dingle scored 13 points for Lander while Elijah Alston added 12 points and four steals. Rahu Purdie scored 10 points while leading the Bearcats with seven assists.

Sidney Robinson was another of Lander's five double-figure scorers with 10 points. DeShundre Rucker added nine points while leading the Bearcats with seven rebounds and four blocked shots.

Morris Robinson Jr. added eight points and six assists for Lander.

USC Aiken had three 20-plus point scorers, led by Doniel Dean's 28 points on 10 of 16 shooting from the floor.

Xzavier Barmore scored 25 points while Ty'lik Evans added 23 points and five assists for the Pacers. Shaquan Jules scored 12 points while Faison Brock added nine points and a team-high nine rebounds for USC Aiken.

The Bearcats scored 11 unanswered points, extending a 14-11 lead to 25-11 just inside the 12-minute mark of the opening half. Alston hit a three from the top of the key, Robinson Jr. added a trey from the right wing, Purdie made an underhanded scoop layup, Rucker hit a driving layup, and Alston added a free throw.

But two minutes later, USC Aiken was within 28-25 on Dean's layup. Evans made three free throws to knot the game at 30-all with 8:43 to go. Then the Pacers took their first lead since the beginning of the game, 37-36, at the seven-minute mark on Dean's three.

Barmore's three gave USC Aiken a 45-38 advantage with 3:43 left as the visitors were on a 34-13 run over an eight-minute stretch.

But Lander rallied as Wiggins made a three, Purdie hit a pair of treys and Alston added a game-tying three to even the score at 52. USC Aiken led 54-52 at halftime.

Wiggins had a dunk, three-pointer and another basket while Rucker also added a trey as the Bearcats led 62-58 with 16:33 to go. But Barmore scored seven points in an 11-0 run as the Pacers were back up by seven, 69-62, with 14:45 left.

Dingle made two free throws as Lander regained a 72-71 advantage with 12:14 to go. Sidney Robinson's three upped the Bearcat lead to 85-78 with 8:50 left.

Dean's two free throws gave USC Aiken a 94-93 lead with 3:25 to go and a Jules put-back jam made it 96-93 just inside the three-minute mark.

Jules struck again with 2:08 left when he grabbed his second consecutive offensive rebound, laid it in and converted a three-point play giving the Pacers a 99-94 advantage.

Wiggins made two free throws to pull Lander within 101-98 with 48 seconds to go. But Barmore drove aggressively to the basket, was fouled, and made a pair of free throws for a 103-98 USC Aiken advantage with 42 seconds left. The Pacers would add five more free throws.