Spartanburg, S.C. – The College of Charleston Cougars overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half to defeat USC Upstate 75-71 Sunday afternoon in non-conference action at the Hodge Center.
The Spartans fall to 2-3 on the season while the Cougars even their record at 2-2.
Sharmayne Edwards poured in a game-high 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added six rebounds to the effort. Edwards was joined in double figures by Brittany Starling with 12 points and Raven Jefferson's 11. Starling also pulled down six rebounds on the defensive side of the ball.
Edwards gave Upstate its largest lead of the game, 54-37, at the 13:38 mark of the second half, but Charleston quickly trimmed the deficit down to three over a span of nearly two minutes courtesy of back-to-back three-pointers by Erin Hall and two free-throws from Afreyea Tolbert. The final five minutes consisted of three ties as Upstate held a one-point advantage after Starling's free throw with 2:05 left. Breanna Bolden's steal and layup gave Charleston a 71-70 lead with 1:33 left.
Upstate was unable to sink the go-ahead basket during the final minute of play as the Cougars extended their lead to four at the charity stripe. Alyssa Frye made it a three-point game, 73-70, with 46 seconds remaining, and Bolden added two more to put the score at 75-71.
The Spartans limited Charleston to just 9-of-29 shooting in the first half as it led 38-27 heading into the locker room. Edwards and Jefferson had nine points each in the opening stanza as Upstate shot 41.2% (14-of-34) overall. The Spartans forced the Cougars into 16 turnovers that led to 15 points. Upstate also controlled fast-break points by a 10-2 margin.
Upstate held a one-point cushion, 5-4, over the first three minutes on a layup by Shelby Hicks. After Bolden gave Charleston an 8-7 lead at the 15:03 mark, the Spartans used a 10-0 run over a two-minute span to lead 17-8. Upstate increased their lead to 24-13 on Toni Romiti's three-pointer with 9:07 left, but the Cougars answered back with an 8-0 run over 2:06 to trim the lead to 24-21 on five free-throws and a three-pointer by Frye.
The Spartans ended the first half with a 15-6 run over the final 4:44 to lead 38-27. A jumper by Edwards with 13 seconds remaining sent Upstate into halftime holding the 11-point advantage.
Tolbert led all Cougar scorers with 16 points and nine rebounds, and was one of four players to score in double figures. She was joined by Frye with 13 points, Bolden with 11 and Hall's 10.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 42.9% (27-of-63) while Charleston was 24-of-64 for a 37.5% clip. The Cougars were successful on 24-of-30 free-throw attempts as Upstate went 13-of-20. The Spartans held a 34-20 advantage in points in the paint, 12-8 in fast-break points and 37-29 in points from the bench.
Upstate will remain at home Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. as they host the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
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