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SANTA CLARA, CALIF. - The USC Upstate men's basketball team opens play in the CBE Hall of Classic Tuesday evening, taking on tournament host Santa Clara in the first of three Thanksgiving week games in California.
The matchup between the Spartans and Broncos will be the first-ever meeting between the two teams. In the only common opponent for the two squads this season, Santa Clara knocked off Saint Louis 74-62 on the road, while Upstate fell 76-59 to the Billikens to open the year.
Fans can follow Upstate at Santa Clara through live video by clicking here and live in-game statistics by clicking here. ESPN Spartanburg 97.1 FM and 1400 AM will broadcast the game that can also be heard online by clicking here. Fans can follow on twitter @UPSTMBB and can join the conversation with the hashtag #UpstateHoops.
- The Spartans are looking to bounce back after falling at the University of Texas San Antonio last Saturday in a game Upstate led by as many as 14 points in the first half. The defeat was the first game since a loss to FGCU in the A-Sun tournament last year where the Spartans led at intermission and couldn't close the deal.
- Following an eight-point loss at UTSA, Head Coach Eddie Payne said, "We have to get a lot tougher to be successful." With three games in a four-day span and playing over 2,500 miles from home, the Spartans will have a chance to do that. Following a contest with Santa Clara Tuesday evening, Upstate will take on Eastern Washington Wednesday and Utah Valley Friday.
- The boys in green and white have not won a game away from The Hodge Center since Feb. 18 and a one-point victory at Lipscomb that saw Ty Greene land on SportsCenter's "Top Plays" with his buzzer beater three-pointer. Since that time, the Spartans have dropped five straight games away from home.
- Upstate has struggled on the glass this season, averaging just 28.7 rebounds per contest to 32.8 for the opponent, leaving the Spartans with a -3.7 rebounding margin. Last season, the Spartans dominated the boards, averaging 36.9 rebounds per contest and holding a +3.9 rebounding margin over their opponents. Upstate currently ranks 327th in the country in rebounds per game.
- Torrey Craig returned to "Player of the Year" form last Saturday at UTSA, scoring 27 points and grabbing five rebounds to lead all scorers. Craig had gone six straight games without a 20-point performance, as the preseason pick to repeat as the A-Sun Player of the Year pushed his points per game average up to 17.7, ranking him fourth in the league.
- The Spartans have dished out 54 assists this season in three games for a 17.7 assists per game average. Jodd Maxey leads the way with 10, followed by Ty Greene with nine and two others with seven. Santa Clara has recorded 40 assists in two games, including 27 against Simpson College to open the year. The Broncos are 14th in the country in assists per game, while Upstate ranks 35th in the land.
- Santa Clara's offense put up 106 points to open the season against Simpson College and then went on the road against one of the top defenses in the country from a year ago and scored 74 against Saint Louis to cruise to a 2-0 start. The Broncos' 90 points per game ranks ninth in the country.
- Kevin Foster has been all-everything for Santa Clara in its first two contests, averaging 28.5 points per game including a 30-point performance at Saint Louis. His 30 points against the Billikens helped the senior break the school's all-time scoring record, a mark previously held by Kurt Rambis since 1980.