Spartanburg, S.C. – Deion Holmes scored a game-high 24 points off the bench to lead the USC Upstate men's basketball team to a 79-59 victory over the Paine College Lions in non-conference play on Monday evening inside the G.B. Hodge Center.
Upstate improves to 2-3 overall with the victory.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
- Holmes led three Spartans in double-figures scoring with his season-high 24 points. The 24 points are two shy of tying his career-best of 26 set during his freshman season against The Citadel.
- Mike Cunningham also scored a season-high with 17 points while Ramel Thompkins added 12.
- Malik Moore and Avery Diggs both pulled down a team-leading six rebounds to lead Upstate defensively.
- Diggs set a new career-high with his six rebound performance and surpassed his previous best of four at Georgia on Nov. 14.
- Moore, Cunningham and Jure Span each dished out three assists.
- Babe Murphy collected a team-high 17 points for Paine while Phillip Garner added 15.
- Deshawndric Nelms led all players with 10 rebounds.
- The Spartans finished the game shooting 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the field.
- Upstate posted a season-best 84.6 percent mark at the free throw line after making 22 of its 26 attempts including a 10-for-11 clip in the first half.
- The Spartans held a 33-8 advantage over the Lions in points off turnovers, 8-2 in fast break points and 34-30 in bench points.
- Upstate never trailed in the contest and led for all but 21 seconds.
FIRST HALF BREAKDOWN
- The Spartans scored the game's first four points on Cunningham's jumper and a pair of free throws by Moore less than two minutes into the game.
- After Paine had cut the lead to 6-4 less than two minutes later, Upstate used a 9-2 run to take a 15-6 lead with 13:43 remaining. Cunningham scored six of those points while Holmes added three.
- The Lions followed by scoring the next six points to cut their deficit down to three points, 15-12, at the 11:59 mark.
- The Spartans used the deep ball to take their largest lead of the half at 32-16 with six minutes to go after Thompkins converted a 4-point play. Upstate made four 3-pointers during that stretch.
- The Spartans led by 16 points four more times over the final 4:27 with the last coming at 41-25 with 15 seconds left as Diggs connected on a pair of free throws.
- Murphy made one of two free throws with two seconds left to send Upstate into halftime leading 41-26.
SECOND HALF BREAKDOWN
- The Spartans led by double-digits the entire half as it maintained their 16-point advantage with 16:32 remaining when a layup by Holmes made the score 46-30.
- Paine would only get as close as 10 points twice over the next four minutes with the last coming at 49-39 with 12:56 to go.
- Upstate then scored eight consecutive points as part of an 8-0 run to increase its lead out to 57-39 at the 10:40 mark capped by a jumper from Thompkins.
- The Spartans led by at least 16 points over the final 5:23 of the contest started by a 3-pointer from Holmes to give them a 67-51 lead.
- Holmes put Upstate in front by 21 points with 3:16 remaining as his jumper made the score 73-52.
- The Spartans took their largest lead of the game at 23 points twice beginning with 2:36 to go as Isaiah Anderson gave them a 75-52 advantage with his jumper.
- Carson Smith made two free throws with 1:53 left to give Upstate the 77-54 lead.
- Thomas Booker was successful on two free throw attempts with 16 seconds left to give the Spartans the 79-59 victory.
- Upstate begins an eight-game road trip this weekend when it travels to Buies Creek, N.C. to face Bowling Green, Abilene Christian and Campbell as part of the Creek Classic.
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