UNCG Wins The Battle Of Spartans Over Upstate
Nov. 24, 2009
Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate won the battle in nearly every statistical category, but UNC Greensboro won the battle where it counted on the scoreboard as UNCG won the battle of the Spartans with a 76-70 victory over Upstate Tuesday night in the Hodge Center.
UNCG improved to 1-3 on the year, while Upstate fell to 0-4. Upstate will travel to Miami Saturday for a 1:00 pm tip-off against the Miami Hurricanes.
Upstate got a dominant performance out of Nick Schneiders, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds for the third double-double of his career. He also added three blocked shots to increase his career total to 130, just six shy of the all-time mark of 136 held by Kevin Harrington (2000-04). The 23 points was also a career-high. But, while he was dominant down the stretch, he was the only Spartan to deliver in the final five minutes. He scored eight of the Spartans' final 13 points to help Upstate attempt to rally.
Upstate also won the battle in several statistical categories, out-rebounding UNCG 40-37 and holding the edge in points in the paint (36-24), points off turnovers (19-11) and second-chance points (25-12). UNCG, though, shot the ball better from the field, winning 47.3 percent to 43.8 percent. UNCG also shot nearly 47 percent from the three-point arc, hitting 7-of-15. Upstate was just 4-of-17 from the arc. UNCG also made seven more free throws than the Spartans, taking 13 more in the game.
"I thought we had a bunch of plays tonight where we had numbers but guys made bad decisions and we didn't convert them," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "We didn't make the plays to get us over the hump. We really lacked confidence. Our bench wasn't very productive."
The game was close throughout the first half and the first part of the second half. There were seven ties in the first half alone before UNCG opened a 42-39 lead at the intermission. Upstate did wrestle control of the game away from UNCG in the first half to build a seven-point lead with 5:10 to play.
With the score tied at 23-23, Upstate went on a 9-2 run to take a 32-25 lead. Pat Posey had four points during the run and Sharod Minus capped the spurt with a three-pointer. However, the Spartans watched the lead slip away and UNCG gain control with a huge 15-2 run over the next 3:35 to open a 40-34 lead with 1:35 to play in the half. Upstate was able to knock three points off of the lead before halftime. The fact that Upstate was down just three points was something special given the fact that UNCG shot 65.4 percent from the field in the half. Upstate was solid as well, shooting 50 percent from the field.
The second half started much the same as the first period with the teams jockeying for control. Upstate trailed by three with 8:38 to play and the game looked as if it was going to go down to the wire. However, UNCG methodically increased the lead and Brandon Evans converted a four-point play with a three-pointer and free throw after being fouled in the act of shooting to give UNCG a 67-56 lead with 5:00 to play in the game.
Upstate attempted to get back in the game but still trailed by 11 with 3:19 left. The Spartans then rattled off six straight points, all by Schneiders, to get within five at 70-65 with 1:39 to play. However, the Spartans missed a free throw, three-pointer and layup on its next three possessions over a span of 1:13 and UNCG increased its advantage to eight points with 25 seconds to play to seal the win.
Evans finished with a double-double of his own. He tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds. He hit 3-of-5 from the arc and made eight free throws. Ben Stywall had 17 points and nine boards, while Kyle Randall added nine points and four assists.
In addition to Schneiders, Upstate got a solid performance from Carter Cook. He finished with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Posey added nine points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists for a strong all-around game.
"Down the stretch, we got Nick a lot of touches and he was making plays and getting fouled," said Payne. "We may have to get him more touches as we go forward. We haven't shot the ball well from the perimeter all year and that was the case again tonight. We are going to have to make a few more shots and get things going."