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Bearcats' season ends in PBC quarterfinal loss despite Wiggins' 28 points

Bearcats' season ends in PBC quarterfinal loss despite Wiggins' 28 points

AIKEN, S.C. – The Lander men's basketball team got 28 points from Marquel Wiggins but was eliminated from the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Wednesday night with a 90-74 loss to USC Aiken in a PBC quarterfinal game at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

The Bearcats saw their season end with a 12-17 overall record. They finished 6-6 under interim head coach Ryan Hilburn.

Seventh-seeded Lander lost to the second-seeded Pacers for the third time this season. No. 6 nationally-ranked USC Aiken improved to 25-4 and moved on to Saturday's PBC Tournament semifinals versus Francis Marion.

Seniors Rahu Purdie and Jordan Dingle saw their Bearcat careers come to an end.

Wiggins paced Lander with a double-double. He made 10 of 15 shots from the floor while grabbing 10 rebounds.

Sidney Robinson added 14 points for the Bearcats while Dingle finished with 10 points. DeShundre Rucker added nine rebounds for Lander while Elijah Alston contributed nine points, seven boards and four assists.

Ty'lik Evans led the Pacers with 22 points while Xzavier Barmore added a double-double with 17 points while setting a school record with 17 assists.

Faison Brock also scored 17 points for USC Aiken while Shaquan Jules added 14 points.

Lander fought an uphill battle after trailing 15-4, 25-11 and then 35-19 at the midway point of the opening half.

The Bearcats cut their 16-point deficit down to four, 42-38, by outscoring USC Aiken 19-7 over a six-minute stretch. Wiggins scored the first eight points of the run with two baskets while making four of four free throws. Alston added seven consecutive Lander points, including a three-pointer and a tip-in. Robinson also scored a pair of baskets.

The Pacers led 48-42 at halftime.

USC Aiken opened the second half much like the first, starting with a 9-2 run for a 57-44 advantage.

Once again, the Bearcats fought back. Wiggins started an 8-3 run with a dunk and scored twice more, slicing Lander's deficit to 60-52 with 14:35 left.

The game trend continued as the Pacers built their lead back up to 70-55 on an Evans three with 11 minutes to go. Wiggins nailed a three from the top of the key and Robinson made a jumper as Lander drew within 70-60.

USC Aiken began to pull away, however, building its biggest lead of the game at 18 points on Brock's three that made it 82-64 with 6:16 to go.

The lead grew to 20 on a Jules tip-in, making it 88-68 with 2:14 left.