Men’s Basketball to Host North Florida on Friday Night
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After going 1-1 on their most recent road trip, the Spartans return to the Hodge Center as they begin a two-game homestand with a pair of opponents from the River City. The Spartans welcome in former Peach Belt and current Atlantic Sun Conference foe North Florida (9-16, 6-8 A-Sun) to the Hodge Center on Friday night.
USC Upstate enters the game 4-20 overall and 3-11 in league play after it downed Stetson in the A-Sun/CSS Game of the Week on Friday night before falling on Sunday afternoon at Florida Gulf Coast.
In the last meeting between the Spartans and the Ospreys, Torrey Craig scored a game-high 20 points and Josh Chavis added 13, but it wasn't enough as North Florida escaped with a 65-59 win on Jan. 15 inside the UNF Arena.
• Freshman Torrey Craig recorded his sixth 20-point outing of his career with 20 points (15 in the 2nd half) at Stetson. Of the six, two were against Kennesaw State and two were against Stetson.
• Senior Josh Chavis needs just one trey to move into sole possession of third place in school history for career three pointers. He is currently tied with Luke Payne (2004-08), with 190 career triples.
• Senior Mezie Uzochukwu scored 13 points on Friday night at Stetson which was his highest scoring total since scoring 15 on Nov. 29 against UNC Asheville.
• Freshman Babatunde Olumuyiwa has 63 blocks on the season putting him third in the single-season record books.
• Upstate's victory over Stetson on Friday night was the Spartans first road win since a 65-60 win at FGCU on Feb. 25, 2010. The Spartans streak started at Stetson on Feb. 27, 2010 and the streak was at 12 straight until the Spartans snapped the skid Friday.
Today's Opponent – North Florida
North Florida enters Friday night's game on the heels of a 71-69 loss at Jacksonville on Tuesday night. Four different Ospreys reached double figures against the Dolphins and were led by Andy Diaz (20 points) and Jerron Granberry (18 points).
Prior to its loss at Jacksonville, the Ospreys nearly handed Belmont its second loss of the season, but the Bruins rallied to escape with a 69-67 win inside the UNF Arena.
Parker Smith, despite not starting a single game for the Ospreys, leads the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg. Granberry and Diaz also average double figures in scoring with 11.4 and 10.4 ppg, respectively. Diaz is the team's leader in rebounding at 5.7 rpg.
Over their last 10 games, the Ospreys are 4-6, including a 65-59 win over Upstate in Jacksonville, Fla., on Jan. 15.
Upstate freshman Torrey Craig ranks sixth nationally (among freshmen) with a scoring average of 14.8 ppg. The only freshmen ahead of Craig are: Jared Sullinger (Ohio State) at 18.0 ppg and he is followed by a pair of Kentucky players (Terrence Jones, 17.9 ppg; Brandon Knight, 17.5 ppg), Trey Ziegler (Central Michigan) with 17.0 ppg and DeAndre Kane (Marshall) at 15.9 ppg.
Craig recorded 15 rebounds against ETSU (12/5), which places him in a tie for 15th in a single game (among freshmen), while his 14 rebound performances against UNC Asheville (11/29) and Stetson (2/4) places him in a tie for 25th (among freshmen). His rebounding average of 7.2 rpg, places him 15th (among freshmen) nationally.
In league games, Craig is tied for third in scoring with 17.9 ppg and ranks second in rebounding at 8.1 rpg. Craig's league average of 17.9 ppg, places him fifth nationally (among freshmen), trailing only Trey Ziegler (Central Michigan, 19.6 ppg), Perry Jones (Baylor, 18.9 ppg), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State, 18.5 ppg) and Cleveland Melvin (DePaul, 18.0 ppg).
So far this season Upstate has used 13 different starting lineups, which is tied with Saint Louis for the third most in the nation in 2010-11. Pepperdine and Georgia State leads the way with 15 and are followed by Memphis (14).
Twenty for Torrey
Since the calendar flipped to 2011, freshman Torrey Craig has been riding an offensive high. In six times, 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. The Spartan rookie set a new career-high on Jan. 31 with 27 points in Upstate's 59-54 win over Kennesaw State. Craig struck again on Friday night at Stetson as he scored 15 points in the second half en route to 20 points (career-best six three pointers) in the Spartans' 13 point win (72-59) over the Hatters in the A-Sun/CSS Game of the Week.
Babatunde's Block Party
Through early part of his collegiate career, freshman forward Babatunde Olumuyiwa has established himself as a defensive presence. Against East Carolina, Olumuyiwa rejected four Pirate shots, at the time it was a career best for the Athens, Ga., native. Just two days later Olumuyiwa more than doubled that total as he rejected a career-best nine shots (including a pair of dunk attempts) at South Carolina. He recorded six against UNC Asheville to give him 19 in a three-game stretch and on the season, Olumuyiwa has 63 blocks and is averaging 2.64 bpg, both lead the A-Sun.
Olumuyiwa is tied for fourth nationally (with C.J. Aiken (St. Joseph's), D.J. Covington (VMI) and Aaric Murray (La Salle)) with nine blocks in a game. The quartet 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.