Spartanburg, S.C. – Bernard Thompson went 4-for-5 from three-point range and Florida Gulf Coast shot 57.9 percent as a team from long range as the Eagles held on for an 84-80 victory over USC Upstate Saturday afternoon from the Hodge Center.
Thompson finished with 24 points to lead four Eagles in double figures. Chase Fieler added 17 points and five rebounds, while Jamail Jones had 14 points and six rebounds. Dajuan Graf chipped in with 10 points.
Ricardo Glenn scored a career-high 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds for his conference-leading ninth double-double of the season. Jodd Maxey fell just short of a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Torrey Craig added 14 points and Fred Miller had 10.
Florida Gulf Coast (17-10, 11-3) opened the game on fire and used seven points from Fieler to ignite a 12-0 run over the first 2:48. Glenn halted the run when his layup at the 16:45 mark started a 10-0 to pull Upstate within two points.
The Eagles built a 26-19 lead midway through the half following a three-pointer from Brett Comer, but Upstate answered with an 8-0 run to take its first lead of the half at 27-26. The two teams went back-and-forth for the final seven minutes before Miller gave Upstate it's largest lead of the half with a three-pointer in the final minute to put the Spartans ahead 41-36.
The teams continued to trade baskets over the first few minutes of the second half before Josh Cuthbertson hit a three-pointer at the 15:37 mark to knot the score at 50. But Florida Gulf Coast used a 12-3 run thereafter to go ahead 62-53 with 12:22 left.
Upstate (15-12, 8-6) began to chip away at the lead and pulled within five points several times, but the Eagles managed to answer with a basket on all four occasions. Glenn cut the Eagle lead to 75-72 with a basket in the lane with just under four minutes remaining. Jones answered on the ensuing Eagle possession with a three-pointer to push the lead back to six points.
Comer put Florida Gulf Coast ahead 82-76 with two free throws at the 1:18 mark. USC Upstate scored four unanswered points to climb within two with 21 seconds remaining. After Comer hit one of two free throws to put the Eagles up by three, Craig's game-tying three-point attempt fell short and into the hands of Thompson.
USC Upstate returns to the court Monday at 7 p.m. when the Spartans welcome Stetson to the Hodge Center.