Spartans Host Ospreys in Potential A-Sun Quarterfinal Preview
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After clinching an Atlantic Sun Tournament berth Saturday, the USC Upstate men's basketball team shifts its focus to North Florida as the two squads are set for a 7 p.m. battle Monday night inside the Hodge Center.
For those fans that cannot attend Monday's contest there are several ways you can follow the action from the opening tip to the final horn. Fans can follow the action by clicking the live stats and live video links above.
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• Upstate head coach Eddie Payne is just four wins shy of 400 for his career.
• In just their first season of full eligibility, the Spartans clinched a berth in the A-Sun Tournament (Feb. 29 - Mar. 3, Macon, Ga.) with a 70-66 win over Jacksonville (2/11/12). Upstate trailed by 13 with 14:19 to play and managed to come away with the victory despite shooting just 50.0% (13-26) at the charity stripe (at one point, the Spartans were 3-of-13 (18.8%) at the line.
• The victory over Jacksonville also gave the Spartans a new D-I era record nine conference wins. The previous high for Upstate was eight during the 2008-09 campaign. It was also the first time this season that Upstate had won a game when tied at intermission.
• Torrey Craig tallied his 13th career double-double (eighth of season) with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the four-point win over the Dolphins.
• Ty Greene joined Craig in double-figures against Jacksonville as the Spartan rookie posted 11 points after connecting on two field goal attempts and all six of his free throws. Greene also recorded a game-high four assists.
• Torrey Craig led a group of four Spartans in double-figures in the 70-58 win at Kennesaw State (2/6/12). Craig scored 12 second-half points en route to a 15-point performance. Ty Greene (14), Ricardo Glenn (12) and Adrian Rodgers (10) also reached double-digits. Craig and Jodd Maxey tied for a team-high nine rebounds and two blocks against the Owls.
• Upstate's bench outscored Kennesaw State's bench 23-0 and the Spartans led the way in points in the paint (34-22), points off of turnovers (10-9), and fast break scoring (6-4).
• Torrey Craig and Ricardo Glenn each posted 13 points at Mercer (2/4/12). Craig pulled down seven rebounds and tallied three steals, while Glenn grabbed six rebounds (four offensive).
• Torrey Craig was named the CollegeHoops.net A-Sun Player of the Month for January. Craig helped Upstate post a 6-3 mark in January including a four-game win streak to close out the month,
• Jodd Maxey was named the College Sports Madness A-Sun Player of the Week (1/30/11) after averaging 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.0 blocks per contest in a pair of Upstate wins over Lipscomb and ETSU.
• The Spartans posted their highest field goal percentage of the season (63.8%; 30-for-47) in their 82-77 victory at Jacksonville State (1/30/12). The Spartans also finished 77.8% (7-of-9) from beyond the arc.
• Against the Gamecocks, Ty Greene led a group of five players with a team-high 17 points behind a 4-of-9 effort from the floor (2-2 3FG) and 7-of-8 at the charity stripe. Greene's seven made free three throws tied a career-high.
Today's Opponent – North Florida
Since a four-game skid (1/9 - 1/21), the Ospreys have won four of their last six contests as North Florida sits 13-14 overall and 7-7 in league play.
UNF currently sits in a tie for sixth-place with Florida Gulf Coast, but the Ospreys own the tiebreaker thanks to a season sweep of the Eagles. Based on Upstate's current third-place ranking, Monday night's tilt could be a possible A-Sun Tournament Quarterfinal preview.
Parker Smith leads a trio of UNF players averaging double-figures. Smith, who averages 13.3 ppg, is joined in the double-digit scoring column by Travis Wallace (10.9) and Jerron Granberry (10.7). Wallace is the team's leading rebounder (5.2 rpg), while Jimmy Williams paces the team with 91 assists on the year.
Following Monday's contest in the Hodge Center, UNF will return to Jacksonville, Fla., for its final three games of the season (Kennesaw State, 2/18; Mercer, 2/20; at Jacksonville, 2/24).
Last Time vs. North Florida – Jan. 14, 2012 – Jacksonville, Fla. (UNF Arena)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Torrey Craig scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and USC Upstate defeated North Florida 69-62 on Saturday night.
The Spartans (10-8, 4-2 Atlantic Sun Conference) scored 21 points off 19 rebounds, negating a strong shooting night by the Ospreys.
North Florida shot 56.8 percent from the field (21 of 37) and brought it within two, 64-62, on Jimmy Williams' layup with 1:24 remaining but wasn't able to get any closer.
Upstate's Babatunde Olumuyiwa made a layup and Williams followed with a turnover to give the Spartans the ball back. Mario Blessing made a free-throw, Torrey Craig blocked Jerron Granberry's 3-piont attempt and Olumuyiwa connected on his two foul shots to seal it for the Spartans. Olumuyiwa finished with 14 points and Jodd Maxey added 12 for the Spartans.
Parker Smith led North Florida (9-10, 3-3) with 16 points and Travis Wallace added 12.
Welcome to the Party
In just the first season of full NCAA Division I eligibility, the Upstate men's basketball team punched its ticket to the A-Sun Tournament (Macon, Ga. [Feb. 29 - Mar. 3]) with a 70-66 victory over Jacksonville (2/11/12). The Spartans trailed by 13 with 14:19 to play and overcame woes at the free throw line (started 3-of-13) to earn the tournament berth with a four-point win. Upstate finished 50% at the charity stripe as it sank 10 of its final 13 FT attempts.