Spartans Grind Past Lipscomb, 61-52
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Despite shooting just 30.4% (21-of-69) from the floor the USC Upstate men's basketball team (12-9, 6-3 Atlantic Sun) was able to hang on as they defeated Lipscomb (10-11, 5-4) Monday night inside the Hodge Center.
"Ty (Greene), Fred (Miller), Adrian (Rodgers) and those other guys that guarded Jordan Burgason did a great job tonight as they limited the number of open looks he got and he didn't score in the second half," said head coach Eddie Payne. "I don't feel that we were particularly efficient offensively, but our defense was consistent the entire contest, and it showed as they (Lipscomb) shot just 32.7 percent and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc."
Lipscomb quickly jumped in front thanks to a Jordan Burgason three-pointer just 10 seconds into the contest. The Bison maintained that three-point lead until Mario Blessing (Kusterdingen, Germany) canned a triple at the 16:44 mark to tie the contest at 3-3. Upstate took its first lead of the contest just 42 seconds later on a Torrey Craig (Great Falls, S.C.) lay-up.
Burgason canned another three-pointer for Lipscomb and the Bison regained the lead, 6-5, with 15:53 remaining in the first half. After six early points, Burgason managed just three more points the rest of the way as he finished with nine points.
With Lipscomb holding a one-point lead, 9-8, Craig sank two free throws with 14:51 on the clock as the Spartans regained the lead, a lead they never relinquished.
After the Bison cut the Spartan lead to two, 17-15, with 8:25 to play, the Spartans used an 8-1 run to surge ahead by nine (25-16) with less than six minutes to play in the half.
Lipscomb's Martin Smith trimmed the Upstate lead to seven (25-18), Upstate scored the next six points of the contest. Ty Greene (Knoxville, Tenn.), Adrian Rodgers (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Jodd Maxey (Statham, Ga.) all scored during the spurt. Maxey's jumper with 2:43 left in the first half gave the Spartans a 13-point advantage (31-18), their largest of the night.
Upstate carried a 33-25 lead into the locker room at intermission.
After Lipscomb opened the second half on a 5-0 spurt to trimmed the deficit to three, the Spartans used a run of their own to increase the lead to double-digits. Greene and Maxey each sank two free throws while Craig connected on a three-pointer to give Upstate a 40-30 lead with 16:06 remaining.
Lipscomb again closed the gap to five, but the Spartans again pushed the lead back to double-figures. Leading 40-35, Upstate used a 9-1 run to take a 49-36 lead with 11:22 to play. Fred Miller (Atlanta, Ga.) scored five points during the spurt.
The Spartans saw their lead dwindle to just three points (52-49) as the Bison used a 13-3 run over a span of 6:27.
Lipscomb again closed within three (55-52) on a Jacob Arnett three-pointer with 1:33 to play.
The Spartans scored the final six points of the contest to claim the 61-52 win. Blessing connected on a lay-up and four Spartans combined to hit four free throws in the final 33 seconds of the game.
"At times we played like we were behind on offense and we weren't very poised offensively, so obviously we have to improve that," Payne added.
Craig, the only Spartan to reach double-figures in scoring, tallied his sixth double-double of the season (14 points, 12 rebounds). Ricardo Glenn (Augusta, Ga.) tied a career-high with 14 rebounds. Glenn and Craig are the first Spartan pair since the duo of Bobby Davis and Nick Schneiders recorded 10 or more rebounds each (at Gonzaga, March 3, 2009).
Maxey also had a solid outing for the Spartans as the redshirt sophomore posted nine points, seven steals, five rebounds and two assists.
Martin Smith and Deonte Alexander led the Bison with 10 points each.
The Spartans out-rebounded the Bison, 51-43, and held a 10 rebound advantage on the offensive glass (22-12). Upstate forced 20 Lipscomb turnovers and converted those Bison miscues into 17 points.
The Spartans close out their three-game homestand Friday night when they host ETSU in the A-Sun/CSS Game of the Week. Tip-off inside the Hodge Center is slated for a 7:05 p.m. tip.