Kennesaw, Ga. – Kennesaw State shot 42.9 percent from three-point range and held off USC Upstate in the second half on its way to a 68-58 victory Monday night from the KSU Convocation Center.
Kennesaw State led 46-27 early in the second half before going scoreless for over seven minutes to allow USC Upstate to pull within eight points midway through the half. After a free throw from Nate Rucker, Ty Greene hit a three-pointer from the wing to pull the Spartans within six with just over eight minutes remaining.
Bernard Morena scored the next four points and Delbert Love hit a three-pointer sandwiched in between a free throw from Ricardo Glenn to push the Kennesaw State lead back to 12 points with just over four minutes left to play.
Greene cut the Kennesaw State deficit to eight points with a three-pointer at the 2:04 mark, but Kennesaw State went 11-for-12 from the free throw line over the final 1:09 to hold on for its first Atlantic Sun win of the season.
Love scored 18 points and hit three 3-pointers to lead four Owls in double figures. Bernard Morena finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while Orlando Coleman added 11 points and four assists. Myles Hamilton chipped in with 10 points and four assists.
Fred Miller tied a career-high with 15 points to lead Upstate. Greene finished with 14 points and two assists, while Glenn tallied 13 points and seven rebounds.
Kennesaw State hit 7-of-10 three-pointers and shot 62.5 percent from the field in the first half to open up a 41-23 lead at halftime. Coleman led the Owls with 11 points and was 5-for-6 from the field.
Kennesaw State held USC Upstate to just four field goals over the first 9:36 and built a 20-9 lead during that stretch behind the eight points of Hamilton. A jumper in the lane from Michael Buchanan cut the Kennesaw State back to single digits, but the Owls responded with a 12-2 run over the next 4:07 to increase their lead to 32-13 with just over five minutes before halftime.
Upstate used an 8-0 run thereafter to trim the Kennesaw State lead to 11 points at 32-21, as both Miller and Glenn each accounted for four points. Kennesaw State answered by scoring nine straight points over the final 1:20 capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Love, including one from the wing as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Upstate returns to action Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Spartans host Northern Kentucky from the Hodge Center.