Big 10: Spartans Down Ospreys for Most D-I Wins in Program History
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the first time in the Division I era, the USC Upstate men's basketball team (10-8, 4-2 Atlantic Sun) has tallied double-digit victories in a season thanks to a 69-62 victory over North Florida (9-10, 3-3) Saturday night inside the UNF Arena.
Prior to the 10 wins thus far in 2011-12, the Spartans season totals were: seven wins (2007-08), nine wins (2008-09), six wins (2009-10) and five wins (2010-11).
"I thought the win tonight was an exceptionally good one for us," said head coach Eddie Payne. "We fouled way too much and we kept them in the game with our fouling. I thought in the second half our big guys did a really good job of grabbing rebounds in traffic. Torrey (Craig) didn't have his best game, but he still had a double-double because he did the dirty work. Babatunde (Olumuyiwa) had his best game of the year after scoring 14 points and hitting all of his free throws. Jodd (Maxey) and Adrian (Rodgers) also had good games for us to make up for others that didn't play particularly well."
Upstate opened Saturday night's contest on a 7-0 run over the first 3:10 of the contest. Ricardo Glenn (Augusta, Ga.) got things going with a jumper in the paint just 22 seconds into the game. Chalmers Rogers (Fort Mill, S.C.) canned a triple while Craig (Great Falls, S.C.) connected on a lay-up during the early spurt.
UNF finally got on the board on Andy Diaz's lay-up with 16:25 remaining in the first half, cutting the Spartan lead to five (7-2).
A three-pointer by Fred Landers pulled UNF within three at 8-5 with 15:57 to play in the first 20 minutes. The Spartans quickly went back up by six on Craig's triple with 15:43 remaining in the half.
The Spartans were able to maintain the lead until Jimmy Williams sank a pair of free throws, forcing the first tie of the contest (20-20) with 5:57 remaining in the first half. Williams' free throws began a back-and-forth affair that featured six lead changes and five ties over a span of 4:43.
Upstate used a 5-0 spurt to close the half and take a 34-32 lead into the locker room at intermission. Ty Greene (Knoxville, Tenn.) delivered an alley-oop to Babatunde Olumuyiwa (Athens, Ga.) to start the brief run with 1:33 remaining in the half. Mario Blessing (Kusterdingen, Germany) sank a three pointer with 1:14 to play, giving the Spartans the two-point lead at intermission.
The Spartans increased their lead to six (38-32) thanks to a pair of Craig lay-ups in the first 1:45 of the second half.
UNF used a 6-0 run over a span of 1:53 to tie the game at 38 a piece with 16:03 to play. All six Osprey points came from inside the paint.
Rogers canned a three just 13 seconds later to put the Spartans back in front. Rogers hit another three at the 14:29 mark to give the Spartans a six-point advantage (45-39).
UNF continued to hang around and the Ospreys took a 52-51 lead on Parker Smith's jumper in the paint with just over eight minutes to play.
The Spartans were able to reclaim the lead and push the lead to three (54-51) after Craig sank three of four free throws in a span of 16 seconds.
After Parker Smith cut the Spartan lead to just two (62-60), the Spartans used a 7-2 run to close out the contest and pick up the 69-62 win. Olumuyiwa sank a pair of field goals and a pair of free throws to compliment a free throw by Blessing over the final 1:48 of the contest.
"I have been in a shooting slump lately and haven't been playing particularly well," said Olumuyiwa. "I was able to knock down some shots and some free throws and the team, as a whole, came through tonight and we were able to pick up the win."
The Spartans were led by Craig's double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Olumuyiwa's season-high 14 points. Maxey pitched in 12 points in the Spartan win.
UNF was led by Parker Smith (16 points) and Travis Wallace (12 points).
In all, there were 10 lead changes and eight ties in Saturday night's contest. The Spartans led the way in points in the paint (32-30), points off of turnovers (21-15) and second chance points (14-6). UNF's bench outscored the Upstate bench, 46-32.
Upstate will close out its River City tour Monday night with a 7 p.m. battle against Jacksonville inside Swisher Gymnasium.