Second-Half Surge Lifts Bruins Past Spartans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After USC Upstate cut the Bruin lead to just four, 38-34, with 16:32 remaining, the Bruins went on a 27-10 run over the next 8:21 to take a commanding 61-44 lead. From there, the Spartans would get no closer than 15 as Belmont claimed an 81-49 victory inside the Curb Event Center on Saturday night.
Saturday's game started the same as the previous meeting in Spartanburg (Jan. 21), with the Spartans (4-24, 3-15 A-Sun) controlling the tempo early. At the 12:04 mark of the first half, Carter Cook (Clemmons, N.C.) sank a jumper to give the Spartans a 12-5 lead.
After Bruin guard Kerron Johnson connected on a layup, Tony Dukes (Ellenwood, Ga.) pushed the Spartan lead to eight, 15-7, thanks to his triple from the corner.
Belmont (25-4, 17-1) briefly tied the game at 17, but Upstate pushed the lead to four, 21-17, on Torrey Craig's (Rock Hill, S.C.) jumper in the paint.
Belmont used a 19-5 run over the final 5:37 of the first period as they carried a 10 point lead into the locker room at the intermission.
Upstate was able to cut the lead to four early in the second half, 38-34, on Marquis Sloan's fast break layup with 16:32 to play.
Belmont halted the Spartan rally with back-to-back-to-back triples to push the lead to 13 with 14:50 remaining.
The Spartans got as close as seven with 11:40 to play, but from there the Bruins pulled away en route to the 32 point win (the largest margin of victory in the eight game series).
Upstate was led by Ricardo Glenn (Augusta, Ga.) with 12 points. Glenn was the only Spartan to reach double-figures against the Bruins. Craig tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds in the last meeting, a five-point loss, but the Spartan rookie finished with six points and six rebounds.
Four other Spartans scored six points on Saturday night, Cook, Dukes, Marquis Sloan (Greenville, S.C.) and Mezie Uzochukwu (Greensboro, N.C.).
Ian Clark led the Bruins with 20 points, while Kerron Johnson and Jordan Campbell came off of the bench to score 15 points each.
Belmont shot 55.6% (30-54) from the floor, including a 73.9% (17-23) effort in the final 20 minutes. The Bruins also sank 15 triples on Saturday night.
Upstate managed to connect on just 22 of its 52 field goal attempts (42.3%) and the Spartans were just 4-for-18 (22.2%) from beyond the arc.
Upstate will return to action next Saturday when the Spartans travel to Buies Creek, N.C., to face Campbell for the final time as conference members. Campbell will move to the Big South Conference beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. Tip-off between the Spartans and the Camels is scheduled for 3:15 p.m.