Men’s Basketball Preview: Cougars Open PBC Play vs. USC Aiken
COLUMBUS – Columbus State (2-3) is set to begin Peach Belt Conference play on Saturday versus USC Aiken (5-1, 1-1 PBC). The men's contest will follow the women's game as part of a doubleheader that begins at 1:30 pm. Tip-off for the men's game is set for 4:00 pm in the Lumpkin Center. The game will be available via webcast through csucougars.com.
Columbus State looks to get back in the win column after a tough loss to No.9 Alabama-Huntsville on Tuesday night. The Cougars took a three point lead into the half but were unable to hold on as they fell late to the Chargers 58-55.
CSU had four players score in double-figures paced by Darius Mcknight and Jarmarquis Steverson's 12 points. Andrew Houts chipped in with 11 points and Paul Darkwa added 10. Mcknight also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds closely followed by Darkwa who had seven. Steverson also dished out a game-high six assists as well.
As a team, the Cougars shot 42.3 percent from the floor while knocking down four three-pointers. Defensively they forced 14 turnovers and held the Chargers to 23 points below their season average.
For the season, three players are averaging at least 10 points per game led by Steve Peterson's 11.0 ppg. He is followed by Mcknight (10.2 ppg) and Steverson (10.0 ppg). Mcknight is tied for the league lead in rebounds with 9.2 rpg and is first with 3.4 blocks/game.
USC Aiken comes to town as the No. 8 team in the country in the latest NABC Division II Coaches Poll. The Pacers are coming off their first loss of the year, dropping a 79-73 decision at Flagler on December 4th. The loss dropped their record to 3-1 away from home this season.
The Pacers enter Saturday's contest featuring a balanced offensive attack with three players who average double figures. Four different players have led the team in scoring through six games so far this year.
Bryon Faison (13.5 ppg) leads an offense that averages over 84 points per game. Other key players to watch are Myles Holley (12.7 ppg) and Kevin Willis (11.7 ppg). Faison and Holley are both shooting over 60 percent from the floor.
USC Aiken has outscored the opposition 505-420 on the year, and is shooting better than 50 percent from the floor as a team which leads the Peach Belt. They are also connecting on 40 percent (37-for-92) of their three-point attempts and average six treys per game.
The Cougars and Pacers have met 37 times on the hardwood with CSU holding a 25-12 advantage in the all-time series. USC Aiken has won five straight in the series, with the last meeting coming on January 10, 2010 at USC Aiken with the Pacers registering a 68-62 victory. Saturday's game will be Columbus State's second straight game against a top 10 opponent and conclude their season long five game homestand.