Spartan Rally Comes Up Short in Loss at Belmont
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team tried similar heroics to the home victory over Belmont Jan. 21, but the Spartans fell just short in a 88-79 loss to Belmont Monday night inside the Curb Event Center.
"We came in and played against a really good team on senior night," said head coach Eddie Payne. "I was really proud of the way our team competed tonight and we had the ball down just three points a few times. We didn't get it done, we made a few mistakes and Belmont is good enough to take advantage of miscues. We kept playing the entire night and to me, that was a really good sign for us. We will head home and see what we can do the final two games as we prepare for the conference tournament."
Belmont opened the game on an 11-2 run over the first 2:45. Ricardo Glenn's (Augusta, Ga.) lay-up was the only bucket for the Spartans in the opening minutes of the game.
Torrey Craig (Great Falls, S.C.) was able to close the gap to four, 11-7, with 16:21 left in the half after sinking a pair of free throws and a three-pointer.
Belmont responded with an 8-0 spurt to take a 19-7 lead with 12:28 showing on the clock. All eight Bruin points came in the paint and four were in transition.
With the Bruins leading 38-23, Upstate used a 7-0 run to trim the deficit to just eight (38-30) with 2:05 to play in the half. Ty Greene (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Glenn combined to hit five free throws, while Adrian Rodgers (Alpharetta, Ga.) hit a jumper just inside the free throw line to cap the run.
Belmont was able to push its lead to 14 with less than 30 seconds remaining on a tip-in by Reece Chamberlain. Fred Miller (Atlanta, Ga.) picked up a steal and raced the other way as the Spartan rookie connected on a lay-up as time expired to set the halftime deficit at 12 (47-35).
Belmont kept the Spartans at bay to open the second half and held a 10-point lead, 63-53, with 10:09 to play.
Thanks to a three-pointer and a pair of free throws by Greene, the Spartans climbed within five, 68-63, with eight minutes to play. The Spartans closed the gap to three just 28 seconds later when Rodgers hit a jumper to close the gap to three, 63-60.
The Spartans failed to get over the hump as Belmont regained a double-digit lead in the final minutes before claiming the nine point win.
Greene paced the Spartans with 18 points and five assists, while Craig was the team's leading rebounder with eight boards.
Kerron Johnson led a group of five Belmont players in double-figures with 19 points. He also dished out five assists in the contest.
Upstate will return to Spartanburg to close out the regular-season with contests against Florida Gulf Coast (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) and Stetson (Saturday, 2 p.m.).