Feb. 15, 2009
Nashville, Tenn. - USC Upstate looks to make it 1-1 on its trip to Music City, taking on Belmont Monday night at 7:00 p.m. (Central) in Nashville. The Spartans enter the game with a 7-17 overall record and a 6-9 mark in the A-Sun. Upstate had its three-game winning streak snapped Saturday afternoon at Lipscomb. Belmont enters Monday's game with a 15-9 overall record and an 11-4 mark in the A-Sun. The Bruins claimed a tough 76-73 victory over East Tennessee State University Saturday night. Belmont leads the all-time series, 3-0.
Fans not in attendance at the game can watch the action live on ASun.TV by visiting the service's Web site at www.ASun.TV and clicking on the Belmont tab. Live statistical updates are available via Gametracker at www.belmontbruins.com, the official Belmont Athletics Web site.
Looking Back At Lipscomb
Despite Upstate cutting a 14-point deficit to seven in the first half, Lipscomb closed out the half with eight-straight points to open a 15-point lead at halftime and cruised to a 77-44 victory over Upstate Saturday afternoon in Allen Arena. Upstate cut the lead to 13 early in the second half, but Michael Teller scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to give the Bisons a 20-point cushion. Teller finished the game 8-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-4 from three-point land, to lead Lipscomb with 20 points. Adnan Hodzic added a strong 18 points and 12 rebounds. Bobby Davis was held in check in the first half, finishing the first 20 minutes of play with two points and four rebounds. He had a solid second half and finished the game with 15 points and nine boards.
Spartans Look To Nab First Win Over Belmont
USC Upstate takes its six A-Sun wins into the Curb Event Center at Belmont, hoping to take its first victory over the Bruins in the young series between the two schools. Belmont swept the season series last season, taking a 76-52 win in Nashville last year and an 82-72 win last year in Spartanburg. The Bruins took a 73-69 victory over the Spartans in Spartanburg earlier this season.
Belmont enters Monday night's game with Upstate with a 15-9 overall record and an 11-4 mark in the A-Sun following its 76-73 victory over East Tennessee State University Saturday night.
Belmont is traditionally one of the powers in the A-Sun and nearly pulled off a monumental upset of Duke in last year's NCAA Tournament. The Bruins are battling at the top of the conference standings again this season, entering Monday one game behind Jacksonville for the conference lead.
Belmont was 4-5 in non-conference action this season. The Bruins picked up wins against Samford, Tennessee State, Middle Tennessee and Austin Peay. Belmont took losses to Austin Peay, Pitt, Tennessee, Santa Clara and James Madison. The Bruins split their A-Sun openers, losing at Jacksonville and winning at North Florida in December. Since January began, the Bruins have won 10-of-13 in the A-Sun. The Bruins won five-straight games to open the month before losing at ETSU on Jan. 19. Belmont won three-straight after the loss at ETSU and have split their final four league games.
Belmont puts points on the board, averaging 77 points per game while allowing opponents to score nearly 72 points per outing. The Bruins shoot the ball well, hitting 45 percent of their shots and 35 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Alex Renfroe is one of the top players in the A-Sun. He and Upstate's Bobby Davis are the only two players in the nation to lead their teams in scoring, rebounding, assists and field goal percentage. He averages 15.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. Matthew Dotson and Andy Wicke also score in double figures, averaging 13.4 and 11.9 points per game.
A native of Tennessee, Rick Byrd has become an institution at Belmont. He is in his 23rd year at the helm of the Bruins program and his 28th overall as a head coach. He has tallied a 464-257 record at the school and a 556-312 mark overall. He has coached the Bruins to three-straight A-Sun Tournament championships and has locked down three NCAA Tournament appearances and one spot in the NIT in the last five seasons. Prior to his stint as head coach at Belmont, he was the head coach at Lincoln Memorial for three seasons, leading the Railsplitters to a 69-28 record and two VSAC East championships. He got his start as a head coach at Maryville College in 1978 and coached the team for two seasons. He was 15-11 in his final year with the program. He served as an assistant coach at Maryville and Tennessee Tech.
Davis Stands Alone In The Nation
After research conducted by A-Sun Director of Communications Eric Moyer and the media relations office at Upstate, it has been determined that Bobby Davis is the only player in all of Division I who leads his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and field goal percentage (at least 50 attempts). Davis is one of two players in the nation to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and field goal percentage with Belmont's Alex Renfroe being the other player. Davis and Renfroe are the only two players in the A-Sun to rank in the top-10 in scoring and rebounding and in the top-15 in assists and steals.
Bobby Davis has moved into 13th all-time on Upstate's all-time rebounding list. He has pulled down 456 boards in two seasons in the program. He ranks No. 1 all-time for players who played just two seasons at Upstate. His 8.4 rebounds per game average currently tops the all-time list.
Upstate Wins Three In A Row For First Time In DI
When the final buzzer sounded in Upstate's 71-62 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Feb. 9, the win marked the first three-game winning streak for the Spartans since joining the ranks of Division I last season.
Davis' Play For Postseason Honors
The way Bobby Davis has played throughout the season, he has established himself as one of the top players in the A-Sun. A legitimate all-conference player, he has played himself in contention for possible player of the year honors. He is the only player in the nation to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and field goal percentage. He arguably does more for his team than any other player in the conference. When looking at the percentage of points, rebounds and assists players provide for their teams, he is one of the top two players in the league with a combined 73.6 figure.
The Countdown Is On For Block Record
Junior center Nick Schneiders is on the verge of breaking the single-season blocked shots record at Upstate. He currently has swatted 53 opponent shots this season, just four shy of the 56 blocked shots by Kevin Harrington in 2002-03. Harrington tops the all-time list as the only player in the history of the program to top 100 blocks. He swatted 136 in his career. Schneiders is second all-time with 91 blocks. Schneiders' 53 blocked shots this season has already topped his own Division I mark of 25 set last season. He ranks second in the A-Sun with 2.2 blocks per game.
All Hail The King
Senior guard Zac Rich has been a solid player in the Spartans' program for four years and has done everything head coach Eddie Payne has asked. He is a solid leader on and off the court. During halftime of the 54-53 victory over Stetson on Feb. 7, Rich was named Upstate's Homecoming King.
Two In A Row On Super Sunday
With Upstate's 70-59 victory at Jacksonville last Sunday, the Spartans have improved to 2-0 playing on Super Bowl Sunday. Last year, the Spartans claimed a dominating 75-49 victory over Mercer in Spartanburg on Super Bowl Sunday.
Schneiders Delivers A Season First
For the first time this season, and just the second time in his career, Nick Schneiders recorded a double-double to help lead Upstate to a 73-65 win over Campbell on Jan. 24. Schneiders finished the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds. His first career double-double came last season on Feb. 3 against Mercer in the Hodge Center when the 7-3 junior center scored 13 points and pulled down 10 boards. Schneiders has scored in double figures nine times this season and pulled down double-digit rebounds on three occasions. Bobby Davis leads the Spartans in double-doubles this season. The senior forward has tallied eight double dips on the year.
Making The Grade
While Upstate works hard to try to get it done on the court, the Spartans work to get it done in the classroom as well. The hard work has paid off as the men's basketball program posted a team GPA of 3.026 in the fall semester and was the top male sports team at Upstate. It marked the highest GPA for the basketball team since the department began tracking team GPAs in the early 1990s. Eight members of the men's basketball team were selected to the A-Sun All-Academic team released by the league this week. Gabor Boros, Cedric Koffi, Matt Preston, Lucas Reiff, Zac Rich, Chalmers Rogers, Nick Schneiders and Mezie Uzochukwu were each selected as All-Academic in the A-Sun. The eight All-Academic selections are the most ever in the history of the program, topping the seven selections to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Academic Honor Roll in 2007 in the Spartans' final year in NCAA Division II.
The Renaissance Man
Not only is Nick Schneiders developing his game, he is also in the process of developing his skills as a graphic designer. Having done a few volunteer projects for the media relations and marketing departments at Upstate, he also dabbles in artistic expression. The junior center's work will be on display next week at the NCAA Convention in Washington D.C. and in the online version of the NCAA Champions magazine featuring the NCAA Student-Athlete Art Exhibit. Schneiders donated two pieces of artwork to the exhibit, a wire shoe and an artistic picture of a fluorescent light bulb. Schneiders was one of 20 student-athletes from all NCAA Division I, II and III schools to have his artwork chosen for the exhibit in Washington D.C. and in the online version of the NCAA Champions magazine.
Spartans' Non-Conference Schedule Ranked 44th
In its two seasons playing on the NCAA Division I level, Upstate has not ducked playing anyone. In addition to a demanding A-Sun conference schedule, the Spartans have played the likes of Notre Dame, Utah, South Carolina, Georgia, Boston College, Duquesne, Akron, Oregon State, UTEP, Saint Louis, Fresno State and Buffalo in its first two seasons and still have a non-conference game at Gonzaga to look forward to at the end of the year. In the latest non-conference strength of schedule ranking released by Ken Pomeroy, Upstate's schedule was ranked 44th in the country.
Starting Lineup Consistency
Last year, Upstate head coach Eddie Payne used 12 different starting lineups in 30 games on the season. Through 24 games this season, Payne has used just two different starting lineups and a total of six players to start games. Josh Chavis has started every game at the point and has been joined in the starting lineups for all 24 contests by forwards Mezie Uzochukwu and Bobby Davis and center Nick Schneiders. Gabor Boros started the first four games at shooting guard before a back injury forced him to the sideline for three games with freshman Carter Cook taking his place in the lineup. Boros returned to the starting lineup at Saint Louis on Dec. 17 and has started each game since.
Upstate vs. The A-Sun
Upstate returns to action in the A-Sun with Monday's 7:00 p.m. (Central) showdown at Belmont. Upstate is currently 11-20 all-time in the A-Sun. The Spartans' went 5-11 last year in the school's first season playing in the conference and is currently 6-9 this season.