Upstate Set to Resume Conference Play on Monday Night
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - After wrapping a pair of games against teams from BCS conferences around Christmas, the USC Upstate men's basketball team is set to resume conference play in the new year as they face former Peach Belt Conference and current Atlantic Sun Conference foe, Kennesaw State.
Upstate and Kennesaw State were both members of the Peach Belt Conference until the Owls moved to the A-Sun at the beginning of the 2005-06 season. The Spartans own the all-time series lead, 14-8 and since making the move to the A-Sun in 2007, the Spartans are 4-1 against the Owls.
Upstate enters Monday night's game at Kennesaw State with a 1-1 mark in league play, while the Owls enter with an 0-2 mark in the A-Sun and have lost 10 consecutive games since defeating Georgia Tech at home on Nov. 15.
• Freshman Torrey Craig led all Spartans at Virginia Tech as the Rock Hill, S.C., native finished with 11 points against the Hokies. He also was tied for the rebounding lead with six.
• Freshman Chandler Hash is averaging 9.0 ppg over the last four games. He began his hot streak with a career-high of 12 points at NC State behind a 4-for-5 performance from beyond the arc.
• Freshman Babatunde Olumuyiwa has 36 blocks on the season, placing him tied with or ahead of five different A-Sun team totals (Mercer - 36, Lipscomb - 29, North Florida - 27, Stetson - 19, Florida Gulf Coast - 17).
• Senior Mezie Uzochukwu surpassed the 700 career point plateau at NC State as he became the 39th player in school history to accomplish that feat.
• Uzochukwu's roommate, senior Josh Chavis became the 40th player in school history to tally 700 points in a career after a nine point performance at Virginia Tech.
Today's Opponent – Kennesaw State
Kennesaw State enters Monday night's game with a 2-10 record overall and the Owls sit 0-2 in the A-Sun.
KSU opened the season with a pair of home victories over Georgia Southwestern (W, 82-62, Nov. 12) and Georgia Tech (W, 80-63, Nov. 15). Since that point, the Owls have dropped 10 straight games.
In conference play, KSU fell at Belmont (L, 60-87, Dec. 16) and at Lipscomb (L, 73-99, Dec. 18). The Owls non-conference losses have come at the hands of Chattanooga, Alabama State, Northern Arizona, Iowa State, Creighton, SIU-Edwardsville, Fordham and Wyoming.
Markeith Cummings and Spencer Dixon lead the team in scoring as Cummings is averaging 16.3 ppg while Dixon sits at 15.2 ppg. Aaron Anderson is the KSU leader in rebounds at 7.3 rpg.
The 700 Club
Senior roommates Mezie Uzochukwu and Josh Chavis both reached a career milestone in the month of December. At NC State on December 11, Uzochukwu reached the 700 career point plateau and became the 39th player in Upstate history to accomplish the feat. Not to be outdone, Chavis reached the feat on December 30 at Virginia Tech as he became player number 40 to accomplish the feat.
At the conclusion of the 2009-10 basketball season the Hodge Center underwent renovations and after an official recount of the seating capacity, the Hodge Center has been determined to seat 818 Spartan fans. After the recount took place, the UNC Asheville, ETSU and Campbell games were deemed to all be official sellouts, giving the Spartans back-to-back-to-back sellouts in the renovated facility.
With the 60-59 victory over ETSU on December 5th at the Hodge Center, Upstate has now won nine consecutive home conference openers. Upstate's streak began on Jan. 11, 2003 when Upstate (then a member of D-II and the Peach Belt Conference) defeated Armstrong Atlantic State 63-62. Since moving to D-I, Upstate has won four straight home conference openers (Gardner-Webb (1/10/08), North Florida (1/3/09), Stetson (11/30/09) and ETSU (12/5/10)).