Craig’s 20-point Night Not Enough as Spartans Fall at North Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Freshman Torrey Craig (Rock Hill, S.C./Great Falls HS) recorded his third 20-point game in the last 12 days, but it was not enough to lift the Spartans to victory on Saturday night. North Florida was able to hang on and claim the 65-59 victory inside the UNF Arena.
With the win, the Ospreys improve to 6-12 on the season and now sit 3-4 in league play, while USC Upstate dips to 2-15 and 1-6 in the A-Sun.
Craig led all scorers with 20 points behind a 8-for-16 effort from the floor. Josh Chavis (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley HS) chipped in 16 points while Babatunde Olumuyiwa (Athens, Ga./Clarke Central HS) added nine.
Both Craig and Olumuyiwa nearly recorded double-doubles against the Ospreys. Olumuyiwa grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds while Craig finished with nine.
The Spartans found themselves in a four point hole, 34-30, at halftime and fell behind by as many as six in the first part of the second half before making a run.
Upstate tied the game at 43 with 11:48 remaining after Carter Cook's (Clemmons, N.C./Calvary Baptist Day) fast break layup.
The two teams continued to battle neck in neck over the next 3:27 and the game was tied at 49 after North Florida's Jimmy Williams sank the second of two free throw attempts.
Osprey guard Parker Smith ended nearly a three-minute scoring drought and gave North Florida a three point lead, 52-49, with his triple with 5:35 remaining. The Ospreys would not relinquish the lead down the stretch despite the Spartans having several opportunities to tie or take the lead in the final five minutes.
The Spartans were without head coach Eddie Payne who left after the Jacksonville game to be with his family after his father-in-law passed away on Thursday. Assistant coach Kyle Perry assumed the head coaching duties but was unable to improve to 2-0 against North Florida. Last season Perry guided the Spartans to a 64-50 win over North Florida at the UNF Arena on Jan. 21, 2010 when Coach Payne was ill.
Four different Ospreys reached double figures on Saturday night, led by Parker Smith's 16 points. Matt Sauey added 12, with Jerron Granberry and Jimmy Williams adding 11 and 10, respectively.
Upstate got on the scoreboard first and held an early 3-0 lead thanks to Shane Porchea's (Dunwoody, Ga./Dunwoody HS) layup and free throw at the 19:04 mark. Porchea got his first collegiate start on Saturday night and it marked the 10th different starting lineup this season, tied for fifth most nationally.
In the first frame, the two teams battled back and forth early but North Florida extended its lead to nine points on several occasions.
The Ospreys were ahead 29-20 with 3:03 remaining, but the Spartans were able to close the half on a 10-5 run capped by Chavis' triple from well beyond the three point line as time expired.
Upstate shot 40.7% from the floor (24-for-59) but were just 5-for-24 (20.8%) from downtown. Meanwhile, North Florida finished 22-for-48 (45.8%) from the field and 10-for-24 (41.7%) from beyond the arc.
Upstate led the way in points in the paint (34-18) and second chance points (14-10). The Ospreys owned the advantage in bench scoring (31-17) and points off of turnovers (9-7). Each team scored four transition points.
Upstate will return to action on Friday night when they welcome A-Sun leader Belmont to the Hodge Center. Tip-off between the Spartans and the Bruins is slated for 7:00 p.m.