The victory allows the Pacers to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history. USC Aiken will face Midwest Region champion Drury in the quarterfinals on March 28.
The Pacers never trailed in the second half after taking their final lead with nine seconds remaining in the first period off a 3-pointer by All-Regional selection Ronald Zimmerman. The three gave USC Aiken a 39-37 lead going into the break.
Barton tied the game at 57 for the final time with 10:02 remaining off of a steal and layup by Jon Hart.
USC Aiken answered with a 10-2 run during the next three minutes to take a 67-59 lead with 7:03 left to play. Santoine Butler scored six of the 10 points in the run.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to three points with 40 seconds left, but a Zimmerman shot from long range with only 10 seconds remaining pushed the lead back to six. The Pacers added a free throw to post the final at 82-75.
Zimmerman led four Pacers in double figures with 24 points in the victory. The nation’s leader in 3-pointers made per game, Zimmerman was 8-for-10 from long range to tie his career high.
Butler chipped in 16 points by shooting 7-for-10 from the field. Butler also grabbed a game-high nine boards to finish just shy of a double-double. Re’mon Nelson just missed out on a double-double with 13 points, nine assists and three steals.
Nelson also became the program’s second-leading scorer all-time, passing Chris Commons. Nelson now has scored 1,235 points in his Pacer career. He also owns the school’s all-time steals record and the Peach Belt Conference all-time assist record.
Paul Larsen was the final Pacer with a double-figure scoring total for USC Aiken, chipping in 10 points. Jesse Seilern stuffed the scorebook again with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal.
Gerald Boston led three Bulldogs in double figures with 23 points and nine assist. Boston was the leading scorer in the Southeast Regional, and shot 7-for-15 from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line.
Keith Manley scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. Hart was the final Bulldog in double figures with 13 points and seven boards.
The Pacers started out shooting poorly, missing seven of their first nine shots to put them at a 10-point deficit (17-7) at the second media timeout.
USC Aiken was able to turn it around by making nine of its next 12 shots to tie the game at 35 at the final media timeout with 3:37 left in the first half. The tie came from a three by Nelson with 3:54 left in the half.
Boston was the only player in double figures in the first half, scoring 14 points. Zimmerman led the Pacers at the break with nine points, and Nelson had seven points and five assists.
USC Aiken finished the game connecting on 54.7 percent (29-for-53) of its shots from the floor. The Pacers shot 52.4 percent (11-for-21) from long range and 72.2 percent (13-for-18) from the free throw line in the victory.
Barton shot 47.5 percent (28-for-59) from the field in the game, including 50 percent (8-for-16) from 3-point range. The Bulldogs finished shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17) from the foul line.