March 7, 2012

Not Done Yet!: Spartans Receive Bid to First Post-season Dance of D-I Era

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. ­– Despite having its Atlantic Sun Conference tournament run cut short by Florida Gulf Coast, the USC Upstate men's basketball team will get another shot at a tournament run as the team will participate in the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

The Spartans will face a team to be announced later at the Hodge Center March 15th at 7 p.m.  Ticket prices for the event have been set at $15 for reserved seating and $20 for VIP (Courtside) seating.  Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or calling (864) 503-5865.

Doors to the Hodge Center will open at 5:30 p.m. and there will be special give-a-ways for ticket holders.  Prior to the event there will be a DJ and fans are encouraged to grab a hot dog or hamburger off the grill before entering the Hodge Center.

With 20 wins on the season, the Spartans tied their win total from the previous season (9, 2008-09; 6, 2009-10; 5, 2010-11).  The 20-win campaign also gave head coach Eddie Payne 400 career victories as the Spartans defeated Stetson, 90-72, in the regular-season finale.

"We are very excited to be involved in post-season play," said Payne.  "To play in the CIT will be a valuable learning experience for our young team.  We also look forward to representing our University in its first "Big Dance" of the D-I era."

The Spartans claimed three of the four major A-Sun awards (as voted upon by the league's head coaches).  Head Coach Eddie Payne was the Coach of the Year, Torrey Craig (Great Falls, S.C.) was named Player of the Year and Ty Greene (Knoxville, Tenn.) was named the league's Freshman of the Year.

"I am very excited that our team will be able to participate in the post-season and especially being able to host on-campus for our students, faculty, staff and the community,' said Mike Hall, Director of Athletics.  "The team has worked extremely hard this season and they have bought into the coaching staff's plan for success. It is especially gratifying after the long four-year transitional period to enjoy such a successful season."

The post-season appearance will be the first for the Spartans since dropping a triple-overtime contest to Columbus State in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional (L, 88-90, Mar. 11, 2005 [Richmond, Va.]). 

With a victory in the first round of the CIT, the Spartans would pick up their first victory in the month of March since claiming the Peach Belt Conference tournament title Mar. 5, 2005 (W, 73-49, Armstrong Atlantic State [Greenwood, S.C.]).