FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate men's basketball team will look to win back-to-back games Saturday afternoon, when it welcomes Jacksonville University to town for a national broadcast on ESPN3.
The matchup between the Spartans (10-10, 4-3 A-Sun) and Dolphins (11-10, 6-2 A-Sun) is the 10th meeting between the two programs with Jacksonville holding a commanding 7-2 lead in the all-time series. Tip-off is set for 5:03 p.m. EST and can be seen live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Date: Sat. Jan. 26 | 5:03 PM EST
Teams: USC Upstate (10-10, 4-3 A-Sun) vs. Jacksonville (11-10, 6-2 A-Sun)
Location: Spartanburg, S.C. | Hodge Center
TV: ESPN3 | TV Talent: Matt Smith (play-by-play), Jim Heenehan (Analyst)
Radio: ESPN Spartanburg 97.1 FM / 1400 AM | Radio Talent: Phil Cox (play-by-play)
Live Stats: PrestoSports Primetime
Twitter: @UPSTMBB | #UpstateHoops
- With a six-point victory over North Florida Thursday evening, Upstate has now won 18 of its last 21 games inside the Hodge Center and improve to 5-2 at home this season.
- In the midst of a season-long five-game homestand, the Spartans will look to win back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game winning streak from Dec. 30 – Jan. 7 that featured a 2-0 start in conference play.
- The Spartans are 7-0 when holding their opponents under the 60-point mark; Thursday night was no different as Upstate held North Florida to 57 points and just 13.8 percent from behind the arc. With that stifling defense, Upstate slipped past UNF for the top spot in the league in three-point field goal percentage at .352.
- The Dolphins have surged to the top of the league standings with four straight wins, but it has had to grind out every victory along the way, winning those games by an average of 5.25 points. While the Dolphins are 4-0 at home in A-Sun play, they are 2-2 on the road with the two defeats coming by an average of 11 points.
- The Spartans continue to be relentless on the glass, leading the A-Sun in rebounding margin (+5.1) and offensive rebounds per game (13.6). Upstate has only been outrebounded once in the last 11 games and the Spartans are 7-4 when outrebounding their opponents.
- Jodd Maxey broke out Thursday night for a career-tying five blocks to pace the Upstate defense and hold the Ospreys to just 57 points. The junior blocker now leads the league in total blocks with 31 and blocks per game at 1.6.
- The Spartans are one of three teams in the A-Sun with a positive scoring margin this season, and Upstate's +5.2 scoring margin is tops in the conference. Mercer (+4.1) and Florida Gulf Coast (+3.6) are the only other teams in the positive. Jacksonville is fifth in the league with a -3.5 scoring margin.
- Ricardo Glenn continues to prove he is one of the best post players in the Atlantic Sun after scoring 14 points and pulling down a season-high 15 rebounds Thursday evening. He leads the league in rebounds per game (8.5) and is second in field goal percentage (.588). Following the game, head coach Eddie Payne referred to Glenn as "the toughest kid we have."
- Torrey Craig is currently one steal away from the century mark, sitting at 25 takeaways this season and 99 for his 84-game career. His 1,332 career-points rank 10th in program history and 51st in the history of the Atlantic Sun.
POWER RANKINGS BY POMEROY: In the latest rankings by ESPN contributor Ken Pomeroy, the Spartans are the highest ranked team in the A-Sun and rated No. 156 in the country. Upstate has won six of its last nine games, with two of those losses coming by a combined three points. Through various formulas and statistical methods, Pomeroy develops the rankings that many think could be as accurate as any available. The Spartans currently rank as the No. 3 team in the state of South Carolina, sitting only behind Clemson (67) and Charleston Southern (151). Upstate is ranked ahead of South Carolina (194) and the College of Charleston (175) in the Palmetto State.
ON THE BRINK OF A DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Jodd Maxey has never recorded a double-double in his 54-game career at USC Upstate, but the junior has come dangerously close as of late and Thursday night was no exception. Over the last three games, the junior is averaging 9.0 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per contest, including a 13-point rebound performance at Kennesaw State. He then finished a rebound shy of a double-double at Mercer and followed that up Thursday evening with 10 rebounds and nine points to just miss the mark.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: (Baylor's Scott Drew) "This is a game that as a coach, you know that your opponent is a lot better than people might realize. You can see them in the NCAA tournament winning a game."
(Kansas State's Bruce Weber) "They have a really good ball club. When we looked at it going into all these non-conference games they had 21 wins last year and the best turn-around in the country."
(Saint Louis' Jim Crews) "I thought they were good coming in, and I know they're good coming out. Every time we made a mistake, they drilled us every single time. It was uncanny. If we made a defensive slip, we got burned."