January 17, 2013

Road-Warrior Spartans Soar Past Kennesaw State

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall,
 dbeall@uscupstate.edu

Box Score (PDF) | Play-by-play

KENNESAW, Ga. The USC Upstate men's basketball team used a 10-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half Thursday evening to pull away at Kennesaw State University and defeat the Owls 66-54 inside the KSU Convocation Center in A-Sun action.

The Spartans (9-9, 3-2 A-Sun) continue to stay hot away from home, winning their third consecutive conference road game and picking up their fourth straight win over Kennesaw State in the all-time series. The Owls (2-16, 1-5 A-Sun) drop their third straight game and fall to 1-6 at home.

"Every road win is great and I thought we played really well defensively throughout the game and controlled the glass," said Upstate Head Coach Eddie Payne. "The only thing we didn't do well is manage the lead when we had it but we are happy with the win and now we'll head down to Mercer and see what we can do there."

Leading by nine points at intermission, Upstate came out looking to put the game away in the opening minutes of the second half and they did just that, scoring 10 straight points to surge out to a 19-point lead at 42-23.

"The run to open the second half took Kennesaw's life away more than anything," said Payne. "They did make a run at us but I thought that was a significant point in the game."

The Spartans capped the decisive run when Mario Blessing drove the lane and left a lob for Jodd Maxey who snagged the pass in mid-air and finished with a thunderous dunk.

Two minutes later, Upstate extended its lead out to a game-high 20 points when Maxey found Torrey Craig on a back cut and the junior slammed it home to make it 49-29.

Kennesaw State put together a run with under 10 minutes to play, using a 10-2 run to cut the lead to nine at 53-44, but the Spartans bounced back and pushed the lead out to 16 on a pair of free throws from Ty Greene with 2:21 to play. The Owls scored the final four points of the game, but Upstate held on for the 12-point victory on the road.

Craig scored the first five points of the contest and finished with a game-high 17 points and added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.

Maxey set a new career-high for rebounds in a game with 13 and finished just two points shy of his first collegiate double-double. His five assists tied a career-high and the junior has now tallied a block in 15 of 18 games this season.

"Jodd was a consistent and steady force for us in all phases," said Payne. "From rebounding to his defensive work, that was by far his best game of the year."

Ricardo Glenn finished 8-for-11 from the field for 16 points and added seven rebounds and two assists, while Greene's 11 points made it four straight double-digit scoring efforts for the sophomore.

The Spartans were dominate on the boards, outrebounding Kennesaw State 41-23 and pulling down 12 offensive rebounds. Upstate made a living in the paint, outscoring the Owls 36-16 in the lane.

The Spartans will now make their way down Interstate 75 to battle Mercer University Saturday afternoon in Hawkins Arena. Tip-off in the Atlantic Sun Conference matchup against the Bears is slated for 4:30 p.m.

Follow Upstate men's basketball all season long on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

View: Mobile | Desktop