Spartans, Bears Set for Homecoming Battle
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – USC Upstate returns to the friendly confines of the Hodge Center on Saturday afternoon as it welcomes the Mercer Bears to wrap-up homecoming week at Upstate.
Earlier this month the two teams battled in Macon, Ga., with the Bears (7-14, 4-6) claiming a 70-59 win over the Spartans (2-18, 1-9) on Jan. 5.
Despite four different Spartans reaching double figures, the Spartans were unable to counteract the output of Brian Mills. Mills finished the game with 30 points and 12 rebounds
The Spartans will be looking to snap its four game home losing streak on Saturday when the two teams tip-off at 2:00 p.m.
• Freshman Torrey Craig recorded his 11th straight game reaching double figures with 11 points at ETSU and he has scored double figures in 13 of his last 14 outings.
• Junior Carter Cook scored 11 points at ETSU and finished with season highs in rebounding (7) and 3-point FG's made (2).
• At ETSU, the Spartans posted their best mark of the season at the charity stripe as they finished with a mark of 92.3% (12-of-13).
• The last time the Spartans and Bears battled, four different Spartans reached double figures in scoring. Freshman Babatunde Olumuyiwa led the way with 13 points, followed by Senior Josh Chavis (12), Freshman Torrey Craig (12) and Ricardo Glenn (10).
• Seniors Josh Chavis and Mezie Uzochukwu continue their climb up the all-time scoring chart. Chavis ranks 30th with 784 career points, while Uzochukwu is 31st with 767 points.
• On Tuesday night at ETSU, the Spartans used their 12th different starting lineup of the season and are tied for third nationally with Memphis and Sacramento State.
Today's Opponent - Mercer
Mercer has won three of its last four games after losing two straight (at Campbell, at Stetson) after downing Upstate earlier this month.
The Bears won 50-47 at Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 16 and followed that up with a home victory over Jacksonville (W, 70-68, Jan. 20). After falling by 10 at North Florida on Jan. 22, the Bears won at Kennesaw State, 78-70, on Tuesday night.
Mercer will be without the services of Jeff Smith who was injured in the game against Jacksonville. Before his injury, Smith led the team in points (14.7 ppg) and assists (3.19).
Brandon Moore leads the team in rebounding with 6.6 rpg. Brian Mills is second in both scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg).
Twenty for Torrey
Since the calendar flipped to 2011, freshman Torrey Craig has been riding an offensive high. In four of the six games thus far, the Rock Hill, S.C., native has scored 20 or more points. He posted a career-high 25 at Kennesaw State (1/3), followed by 24 against Stetson (1/8) and 20 at North Florida (1/15). He tallied 23 in the Spartans upset bid against Belmont and tied a career-high with five triples.
So far this season Upstate has used 12 different starting lineups, which is tied with Memphis and Sacramento State for the third most in the nation in 2010-11. Pepperdine and Saint Louis lead the way with 14 and 13, respectively.
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.