January 18, 2013

Spartans to Face Mercer Saturday in A-Sun Action

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

GAMEDAY CENTRAL | GAME NOTES

MACON, Ga. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team will look to win its fourth consecutive road conference game Saturday afternoon, taking on Mercer University at 4:30 p.m. inside Hawkins Arena.

The matchup between the Spartans (9-9, 3-2 A-Sun) and Bears (11-8, 4-2 A-Sun) will be the 10th all-time meeting between the two programs and will be broadcasted live on A-Sun.TV.

Gameday Lineup

Date: Sat. Jan. 19 | 4:30 PM EST
Teams: USC Upstate (9-9, 3-2 A-Sun) at Mercer University (11-8, 4-2 A-Sun)
Location: Macon, Ga. | University Center - Hawkins Arena
TV: A-Sun.TV | TV Talent: TBA
Radio: ESPN Spartanburg 97.1 FM / 1400 AM | Radio Talent: Phil Cox (play-by-play)
Live Stats: mercerbears.com
Twitter: @UPSTMBB | #UpstateHoops

Story Lines

  • Upstate is 2-7 all-time against Mercer and has lost six straight games against the defending CIT champions from a season ago. Saturday's contest will feature the preseason favorites to win the Atlantic Sun, as the league's head coaches picked Mercer to claim the title and Upstate to finish second.  
  • Coming off their third straight road victory in dominating fashion at Kennesaw State, the Spartans are looking to remain unbeaten on the road in league play and knock off Mercer for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
  • The Spartans are winless in Hawkins Arena since joining the Atlantic Sun, going 0-4 against the Bears and falling to FGCU in Upstate's A-Sun tournament debut last season. Mercer currently holds the longest home winning streak in the league at nine games, including a 7-0 mark this season.
  • In a 12-point victory at Kennesaw State, Jodd Maxey put together what head coach Eddie Payne referred to as, "by far his best game of the year." The junior pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds, finished two points shy of his first career double-double and tallied a game-high five assists.
  • Torrey Craig was back to his double-double ways Thursday evening, scoring a game-high 17 points and grabbing 10 boards for his third double-double of the season. The junior has now reached double figures in scoring in 17 of 18 games this season.
  • Ty Greene quietly put up 11 points Thursday at Kennesaw State, giving the sophomore four straight games in double figures. His 15.2 points per game in five A-Sun contests currently leads the team.
  • Ricardo Glenn's 16-point effort at Kennesaw State was a season-high for Upstate's big man who finished 8-for-11 from the field and added seven rebounds. His 59 percent shooting from the field this season is second-best in the A-Sun, while his 8.3 rebounds per contest also ranks second in the league.
  • The Spartans continue to pound the glass, outrebounding their opponents in eight of the last nine games. Upstate's +5.1 rebounding margin leads the league and its 13.7 offensive boards per game are also the most in the A-Sun.
  • Mercer has won five of its last seven games and has done so with a stifling defense, holding its opponents to a league-best 57.1 points per contest. The Bears will face an Upstate offense that is third in the A-Sun in scoring at 70.3 points per game.
  • The success of Mercer as of late has gone hand-in-hand with Langston Hall, and Thursday the guard was sensational, finishing a rebound shy of a triple-double. He tallied 13 points, dished out 10 assists and added nine rebounds in a 19-point victory over ETSU.
  • Head Coach Eddie Payne reached another coaching milestone Thursday night at Kennesaw State, earning victory No. 150 at USC Upstate. The defending Hugh Durham National Coach of the Year has 410 career coaching wins in his 28th season as a head coach.

BRACKETOLOGY BREAKDOWN: Upstate was featured in Joe Lunardi's Jan. 8 ESPN Bracketology as the representative from the Atlantic Sun to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Spartans were featured as a play-in game in the EAST Region, taking on Norfolk State for the right to play top-seeded Duke. Five other opponents on the schedule this season were also picked in the bracketology, including Saint Louis, Kanas State, Tennessee State, UNC Asheville and Baylor.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: (Baylor's Scott Drew) "This is a game that as a coach, you know that your opponent is a lot better than people might realize. You can see them in the NCAA tournament winning a game."

(Kansas State's Bruce Weber) "They have a really good ball club. When we looked at it going into all these non-conference games they had 21 wins last year and the best turn-around in the country."

(Saint Louis' Jim Crews) "I thought they were good coming in, and I know they're good coming out. Every time we made a mistake, they drilled us every single time. It was uncanny. If we made a defensive slip, we got burned."

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