Cabin Fever: Spartans Set to Return to Action
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Thursday night's game marks the first for the Spartans since a 74-71 loss to Stetson inside the Hodge Center on Saturday afternoon. More than six inches of snow fell in the Upstate, followed by freezing rain, causing the USC Upstate men's basketball team's game against Florida Gulf Coast was postponed until a date yet to be determined.
On Saturday against the Hatters, the Spartans set season highs in field goal percentage (.531), three-pointers made (13), three-point field goal percentage (.464) and assists (19).
The last time Jacksonville and Upstate met, the Spartans had three players reach double figures, but it wasn't enough as the Dolphins used a 23-6 run to close out the first half en route to a 79-63 victory. Upstate trails the all-time series, 4-1, with its lone win in the series coming in Jacksonville, a 70-59 victory on Feb. 1, 2009.
• Freshman Torrey Craig recorded his second 20 point outing in a week as he finished with 24 points against Stetson. He scored a career-best 25 points at Kennesaw State on Jan. 3.
• Senior Josh Chavis sank a season-best six treys against Stetson, while Torrey Craig tied a career-high with five three's on Saturday. As a team, Upstate connected on 13 shots from beyond the arc, a season-high in the Atlantic Sun.
• Upstate posted a season high 19 assists (26 made field goals) against Stetson. Torrey Craig dished out a career-best seven assists while Redshirt freshman Ricardo Glenn record a career-high four assists.
• In just 15 games, Torrey Craig surpassed the 200 career point plateau with his 24 point performance against Stetson. He has 201 points thus far and is averaging 13.4 ppg this season, while averaging 19.6 ppg in conference games.
• Seniors Josh Chavis and Mezie Uzochukwu continue their climb up the all-time scoring chart. Chavis ranks 33rd with 744 career points, while Uzochukwu is tied for 36th with 734 points.
Today's Opponent – Jacksonville
In Jacksonville's last outing, a battle of conference unbeatens, the Dolphins fell at Belmont 80-51 in Nashville on Monday night.
Before falling at Belmont, Jacksonville won its first four conference games. The Dolphins downed Stetson on Dec. 2 (W, 70-61) and FGCU on Dec. 4 (W, 71-56). Jacksonville won on the road at Campbell on Jan. 3 (W, 67-65) and at Lipscomb on Jan. 8 (W, 60-56).
The Dolphins are led by Ayron Hardy who leads the team in points (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). He also leads the team in assists (3.0 apg), steals (2.36 spg) and blocks (1.0 bpg).
Jacksonville also has a pair of victories over SEC foes this season. The Dolphins won at Auburn, 69-55, on Nov. 27 and won at then-No. 20 Florida, 71-68 (OT), on Dec. 20.
So far this season Upstate has used nine different starting lineups, which is the third most in the nation in 2010-11. Only Pepperdine (13) and Memphis (10) have used more lineups than the Spartans.
The freshmen duo of Babatunde Olumuyiwa and Torrey Craig find themselves near the top of the national rankings.
Among national leaders, Olumuyiwa finds himself tied for 18th in blocks per game (2.67 bpg) and he is currently ranked 2nd among freshmen. In blocks in a single game, the Athens, Ga., native is tied for fourth (with 9) with C.J. Aiken (St. Joseph's), D.J. Covington (VMI) and Aaric Murray (La Salle). The trio trails only William Mosley (Northwestern State) and Ty Walker (Wake Forest) who each recorded 11 in a single game this season and Sam Muldrow (South Carolina) who had 10.
Torrey Craig is currently averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, placing him in a tie for 18th nationally among freshmen. He also recorded 15 rebounds against ETSU, which places him in a tie for 11th in a single game (among freshmen), while his 14 rebound performance against UNC Asheville places him in a tie for 18th (among freshmen). He is in the top-20 in scoring (among freshman) as he comes in at number 19 with 13.4 ppg.
When Upstate hits the court this season, nearly every team they face off against will be more experienced than the young group of Spartans. Upstate has a total of just 10 seasons of D-I experience on its roster (Chavis - 3, Uzochukwu - 3, Cook - 2, Rogers - 2). The Spartans are one of 26 teams to have 10 years or fewer of D-I experience on its 2010-11 roster.
The only team Upstate will face that is younger than the Spartans is the Michigan Wolverines (9), which the Spartans have already squared off against. Leading the way with fewest years of D-I experience is Eastern Washington with just four combined seasons of D-I play, followed by Sacramento State and Texas-Arlington with five each.