Broncos Snatch Early Lead, Take Down Spartans in CBE Classic
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SANTA CLARA, CALIF. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team opened play in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Tuesday evening and Santa Clara jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, picking up the 85-65 victory at the Leavey Center in non-conference action.
Santa Clara (3-0) stays perfect on the year and moves to 2-0 at home, while Upstate (1-3) drops its second straight game and remains winless on the road at 0-3 for the young season.
"We are still struggling offensively, but I feel like we made some significant improvements in the second half," Head Coach Eddie Payne said following the loss. "We had better ball movement and more inside touches which is a good thing and our defense continues to be fairly consistent."
The Spartans could do little to stop the big man for Santa Clara early, as Marc Trasolini accounted for the first 10 points for the Broncos and paced the home team to a 12-5 lead with 15:14 remaining in the first half.
Upstate countered made a run with five straight points of their own, capped by a deep three-pointer from Ty Greene to make it 12-9, but Santa Clara continued to pour it on and responded with a 12-3 run to push the lead out to double digits at 24-12 with 6:15 remaining in the half.
The Broncos stretched the lead to as many as 15 with 3:26 left, but Upstate applied the defensive pressure from there and kept SCU scoreless the rest of the period and faced a 13-point deficit at 32-19 heading to intermission. Upstate turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, which led to 14 points for Santa Clara.
The Santa Clara advantage continued to grow to open the second half, as the Broncos came out on a 9-2 run to force an Upstate timeout with the lead up to 20 at 41-21.
After SCU extended the lead to a game-high 23 at 52-29, the Spartans showed signs of life as they went on a 10-2 run, capped by decisive dunks by Adrian Rodgers and Torrey Craig to cut the lead to 15 with 9:43 remaining and force the Broncos to call timeout.
"We made the easy pass in the second half, we didn't try to force things and the result is that we scored 46 points," Payne said. "Those are the reasons why I am encouraged despite the loss."
Upstate and Santa Clara traded buckets over the final eight minutes with the Broncos running out the clock and taking the 85-65 victory.
Craig paced the Spartans with a team-high 17 points, while Adrian Rodgers finished in double figures with 12 points, including a 4-for-4 stint from the charity stripe.
Babatunde Olumuyiwa garnered his first start of the year and the most of it, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds, while adding two assists in 25 minutes of action.
Ricardo Glenn was just shy of the team's first double-double of the season, registering a season-high 10 rebounds and finishing with nine points. The junior reached 500 career points at the 6:59 mark of the second half when he stepped to the free throw line and knocked down one of two attempts. He now has 505 career points.
The Spartans will turn around in less than 24 hours, battling Eastern Washington on day two of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic on the campus of Santa Clara University. Tip-off at the Leavey Center is slated for 9 p.m. EST.