Spartans Set to Open Season at Michigan
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's basketball squad will begin its fourth season of Division I play as the Spartans travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., as they battle the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.
About the game…
For the second consecutive season, the USC Upstate men's basketball team will open the season on the road against a pair of teams from BCS conferences. Last season, the Spartans opened on the road at Nebraska (Nov. 14, 2009, L, 49-76) and at Indiana (Nov. 16, 2009, L, 61-69).
The 2010-11 campaign is the fourth season of Division I competition for the Spartans, while Saturday night's game is just the second game all-time for Upstate against a team from the Big Ten.
Spartan head coach Eddie Payne (Wake Forest, '73) begins his ninth-season at the helm of the Spartan program on Saturday night. The 2010-11 season is his 26th-season overall with prior stops at Truett-McConnell (1978-79), Belmont Abbey (1981-86), East Carolina (1991-95), Oregon State (1995-00) and Greensboro College (2000-02).
• Saturday's game at Michigan will mark the first time ever that Upstate has played a game on Novmeber 13.
• Senior Josh Chavis enters the game with 632 career points (7.1 ppg) and 212 career assists (2.4 apg).
• Last season, Senior Mezie Uzochukwu finished second on the team in both points scored and rebounds.
• Junior Carter Cook shot 44.6% from the field a season ago and finished with an average of 6.8 ppg.
• Junior Chalmers Rogers increased his production from 2008-09 to 2009-10 and also increased his minutes played per game.
• Redshirt freshman Ricardo Glenn will see his first action in a Spartan uniform after recovering from a foot injury during preseason training.
It isn't uncommon for opposing head coaches to find Spartan forward Mezie Uzochukwu and express to him how they love the way he plays the game. Uzochukwu enters the 2011-11 season with 655 career points (7.4 ppg) and 435 career rebounds, with 156 coming on the offensive glass. He has also recorded 124 assists, 78 steals and 28 blocks. Last season, Uzochukwu lead the Spartans with four double-doubles.
Senior Josh Chavis had a record-setting performance against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 14, 2009, as the Spartan guard sank a school-record 10 3-pointers en route to a 34-point performance against the Eagles.
After recording two double-doubles as a freshman, senior Mezie Uzochukwu failed to record a double-double during his sophomore season and the drought continued through the first 12 games of the 2009-10 season. However, Uzochukwu recorded four as the calendar flipped to 2010. Against ETSU (1/4/09) he tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds and followed that with his second straight double-double at Belmont (1/7/09) with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also picked up double-doubles against Kennesaw State (1/17/09) (13p, 13r) and North Florida (1/27/09) (15p, 10r).
Mister Rogers Neighborhood
In last season's 81-74 victory over Lipscomb (2/11), Spartan forward Chalmers Rogers was a perfect 3-for-3 beyond the three-point line to help the Spartans up-end the Bisons. Rogers entered the game with just three treys on the season.
An A-Sun First
With a pair of victories over Kennesaw State a season ago, Upstate secured its first-ever sweep in the A-Sun. Upstate downed the Owls 66-62 in OT in Spartanburg (1/17) and claimed the 68-64 victory at Kennesaw State.
Not only did USC Upstate defeat eventual A-Sun regular-season champion Lipscomb on Feb. 11, 2009, it marked the 650th victory in program history.
On Feb. 25, 2009, head coach Eddie Payne recorded his 375th career victory with Upstate's 59-52 win at Florida Gulf Coast. Payne, who is in his 26th season as a head coach, is the only active Division I coach to have served as a head coach on all levels of collegiate basketball (NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and junior college).