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SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate men's basketball team put together a furious rally down the stretch Saturday afternoon, but Stetson University held on to pick up the road win, taking down the Spartans 66-64 in the Hodge Center on ESPN3.
Upstate (8-9-2-2 A-Sun) drops its second straight game by two points or less, while Stetson (7-10, 4-2 A-Sun) completes a perfect road trip and vaults to a tie atop the league standings with the victory.
The Spartans trailed by four points with 33 seconds left when Ty Greene continued to stay clutch and drilled a three-pointer to cut the lead to one and bring the sold out Hodge Center crowd to its feet.
After an Upstate foul, Hunter Miller went to the free throw line and knocked down one of two attempts, giving the Spartans the ball with 12 seconds remaining and facing a two-point deficit
With time running down, Fred Miller drove through traffic and put up an off-balance runner in the lane that bounced off the rim into the hands of Ricardo Glenn who was fouled with 0.1 seconds remaining.
Glenn stepped to the charity stripe and missed the first attempt off the back rim. Needing to miss the second and hope for a tip in, the junior provided a perfect bounce off the rim but the tip-in attempt was off the mark and the Spartans dropped their second home game in the last three days after winning 12 straight over a 366 day period.
The Spartans got off to a slow start for the second straight game, quickly facing an eight-point deficit at 14-6 when Adam Pegg hit a jumper with 12:24 left in the first half.
The Spartans rallied from there, going on a 9-2 run capped by a fast break layup from Mario Blessing with 8:18 left in the half to hand Upstate its first lead of the afternoon at 17-16.
The Spartans took a 36-33 lead into intermission, but Stetson opened the second half on a 10-2 run to steal the momentum and force Upstate to play from behind for the remainder of the game. The Hatters would never trail again, seeing their lead cut to a single point three different times but holding on for the victory.
Pegg provided all the heroics for Stetson, going 10-for-16 from the field for a game-high 25 points, while Willie Green was the only other Hatter in double figures with 10 points.
For the third straight game, Greene knocked down five three-pointers, finishing 5-for-9 from long range for a team-high 18 points. The sophomore continues to sizzle from behind the arc, hitting 15 of his last 28 three-pointers over the past three A-Sun games.
Upstate's second-half shooting performance proved to be the difference, connecting on just 10 of 34 attempts for 29.4 percent from the field. The Spartans also hit on just six of 13 free throw attempts.
Upstate will now look to get back on track in the Peach State next Thursday, traveling to Kennesaw State University for a 7 p.m. tip inside the KSU Convocation Center.