Spartans Outlast Hampton in New Year Opener
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team used a 10-1 run midway through the second half Wednesday evening to pull away from Hampton University and defeat the Pirates 68-49 at the Hodge Center in non-conference action.
The Spartans (6-7) win their second consecutive contest and run their home winning streak to 12 games inside the Hodge Center, while Hampton (2-10) continues to struggle, dropping its third straight game.
The Pirates opened the game with eight straight points and led 12-4 before the Spartans put together a 13-4 run to take their first lead of the game on a layup from Rob Elam.
After five lead changes, the Pirates jumped in front on a dunk by Du'Vaughn Maxwell with 2:12 left in the half, but once again Upstate answered the call. Three players scored over the final two minutes of the half, including back-to-back three-pointers from Torrey Craig as time expired to cap a 10-0 run and steal all the momentum heading to the locker room with the Spartans leading 34-25.
"I thought the two threes Torrey (Craig) hit at the end of the half were big," USC Upstate Head Coach Eddie Payne said. "It kind of took their heart a little bit even though they made a good comeback in the second half."
Upstate opened the second half with thunderous dunks from Jodd Maxey and Craig to create a double-digit lead at 38-27, but this time it was Hampton's turn to go on a run, stringing together 11 consecutive points to knot the score at 38-38 and create the first tie of the contest.
The game of runs continued as the Spartans used a 10-1 run of their own over the next five minutes to open up a nine-point lead at 48-39 with 8:39 remaining. The lead continued to grow down the stretch and Fred Miller connected on a pair of free throws with 34 seconds remaining to give Upstate its largest lead of the night at 19 and create the final margin of victory at 68-49.
The Spartans continued their trend of strong rebounding performances, pulling down 40 or more rebounds for the third straight game and outrebounding the Pirates 46-32.
Ty Greene led all scorers with a season-high 17 points, going 3-for-8 from long range and knocking down a season-high six free throws.
Ricardo Glenn's string of double-doubles was halted at three, as the junior was three points shy of double figures to go along with 11 rebounds.
Craig and Maxey were on the brink of double-doubles as well, as Craig tallied 15 points and eight rebounds, while Maxey added 13 points for the second straight game and finished with nine boards.
The Spartans return to action Saturday evening, opening Atlantic Sun Conference action at league newcomer Northern Kentucky. Tip-off at the Bank of Kentucky Center is slated for 7 p.m.
Upstate has won each of its last three conference openers, which is currently the longest streak in the league.