FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, email@example.com
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team returns to the Hodge Center to start a season-long five-game homestand Thursday evening, welcoming the University of North Florida to town for a national broadcast on ESPN3.
The matchup between the Spartans (9-10, 3-3 A-Sun) and Ospreys (8-12, 3-4 A-Sun) is the 18th all-time meeting between the two programs with Upstate holding a 10-7 edge, including two straight wins. Tip-off is set for 7:03 p.m. EST and can be seen live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Date: Thur. Jan. 24 | 7:03 PM EST
Teams: USC Upstate (9-10, 3-3 A-Sun) vs. North Florida (8-12, 3-4 A-Sun)
Location: Spartanburg, S.C. | Hodge Center
TV: ESPN3 | TV Talent: Matt Smith (play-by-play), Jim Heenehan (Analyst)
Radio: ESPN Spartanburg 97.1 FM / 1400 AM | Radio Talent: Phil Cox (play-by-play)
Live Stats: PrestoSports Primetime
Twitter: @UPSTMBB | #UpstateHoops
- The Spartans have won 17 of their last 20 games inside the Hodge Center, including a 4-2 mark this season. Both blemishes this year came by a combined three points and in a three-day span, falling 72-71 in overtime to FGCU on Thursday (Jan. 10) and turning around Saturday (Jan. 12) only to see Stetson emerge with a 66-64 victory. Upstate has filled the Hodge Center to at least 80-percent capacity in five of six home games this season.
- Upstate's current five-game homestand is by far the longest of the season. The Spartans played a two-game home stint two weekends ago and will cap the home portion of the schedule Feb. 14-16 when they welcome Mercer and Kennesaw State to town.
- Ty Greene has not cooled off one iota over the last five games, connecting on 22 of his last 46 three-point attempts for a percentage of .478. The sophomore has made more three-pointers in the last five games than he did in the first 11 games of the year. The recent surge has him sitting third in the Atlantic Sun with 48 three-pointers made, while his 38.4 percent from behind the arc ranks fifth in the league.
- Torrey Craig has continued his consistent play as of late, scoring double figures in five straight games and 18 of 19 contests this season. He has scored 20 or more points five times this year, including two of the last four games.
- UNF's Parker Smith has simply been the standard for three-point shooting in the A-Sun this season, knocking down 80 treys and shooting 46.5 percent from long range, both statistics that lead the conference. The senior has made at least one three-pointer in every game this season, including nine against Stetson on Jan. 5 and eight against Kennesaw State last weekend.
- Two of the top three scorers in the A-Sun will clash Thursday when UNF's Parker Smith (16.8 ppg) and Upstate's Torrey Craig (17.4 ppg) go head-to-head. The duo had nearly identical statistical lines in two head-to-head games a year ago with Craig tallying 32 points and Smith scoring 29 in a pair of Spartan victories.
- Will Wilson has recorded 11 assists in each of North Florida's last two games and his 136 total assists and 6.8 assists per game currently lead the Atlantic Sun. The junior averages nearly half of the team's 14.6 assists per game, ranking the squad third in the league, just behind Upstate at 16.1 assists per contest.
- Upstate continues to lead the A-Sun in rebounding, holding a league-leading +5.4 margin on the glass. The Spartans average an A-Sun-best 13.8 offensive boards per game, while North Florida ranks ninth out of 10 teams in offensive rebounds at 9.4 per contest.
POWER RANKINGS BY POMEROY: In the latest rankings by ESPN contributor Ken Pomeroy, the Spartans are the highest ranked team in the A-Sun and rated No. 159 in the country. Upstate has won five of its last eight games, with two of those losses coming by a combined three points. Through various formulas and statistical methods, Pomeroy develops the rankings that many think could be as accurate as any available. The Spartans currently rank as the No. 3 team in the state of South Carolina, sitting only behind Clemson (62) and Charleston Southern (157). Upstate is ranked ahead of South Carolina (198) and the College of Charleston (177) in the Palmetto State.
ON THE BRINK OF A DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Jodd Maxey has never recorded a double-double in his 53-game career at USC Upstate, but the junior has come dangerously close over the last eight games. Last weekend, the Statham, Ga., native finished a rebound shy of a double-double at Mercer with 10 points and nine boards, while two days earlier a single bucket kept him shy of the mark at Kennesaw State with a career-high 13 rebounds and eight points. Maxey was also on the brink of picking up a double-double in back-to-back home games against Coastal Georgia and Hampton, finishing with 13 points in each contest, while tallying eight rebounds against the Mariners and nine against the Pirates. He has scored double figures in four of the last eight games, while his only double-digit rebound performance was sandwiched between a pair of 10-point efforts.
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."