CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Sophomore Tony Dukes (Ellenwood, Ga./Atlanta Metropolitan) scored 19 points for the Spartans on Monday night, but a late run by the Cavaliers gave Virginia a 74-54 victory inside the John Paul Jones Arena.
"We improved from our first game to our second, which is usually how it works," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "Our team did a lot of good things tonight, but we had a lineup in the game that caused us to lose 10 points in a matter of four or five minutes in the second half."
Dukes finished the night a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the 3-point arc as he became the first Spartan to connect on five or more treys since Josh Chavis (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley HS) hit 10 3-pointers against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 14, 2009.
"It was a huge improvement for us compared to our first game against Michigan," said Spartan guard Tony Dukes. "We came out with a lot of intensity tonight and even in defeat this is a big step for our program as we go forward."
In the second half, Upstate trailed 42-36 with 15:36 remaining after Cavalier guard Jontel Evans connected on a jump shot in the paint. The Spartans quickly responded with a quick six-point burst on a pair of three point shots by Dukes and freshman Torrey Craig (Rock Hill, S.C./Great Falls HS).
After Upstate tied the game at 42 at the 14:20 mark, Virginia went on an 18-6 run to take a 62-48 lead with just 6:36 remaining in the game. Over the final 14:20 of the game, the Cavaliers outscored the Spartans 32-12.
"It was a good learning experience for us and it was a good game," added Payne. "Virginia is also a young team, but they have a post presence in Mike Scott that they can go to and they took advantage of that tonight."
Just like in the game on Saturday night at Michigan, Dukes hit a three-pointer to open the scoring. This time, Upstate continued its strong start as the opened the game on a 10-4 run. The Spartans held the lead until the 7:45 mark of the first half when KT Harrell connected on a three-pointer to put Virginia in front 18-16.
The first half continued to be a see-saw affair as there were 11 lead changes and five ties in the first 20 minutes. Virginia owned a three point lead, 31-28, as the two teams broke for halftime.
Meanwhile, Virginia had four players in double-figures, including Mike Scott who finished with a double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds). Other double-figure scorers for the Cavaliers included Billy Baron (14), Mustapha Farrakhan (11) and Jontel Evans (10).
The Spartans will return to action on Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. when they face Wofford College at the third-annual Charleston Classic. Other participants at this season's event include: Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina, George Mason, Georgetown and N.C. State.