Strong Second Half Sends USC Upstate Past FGCU, 80-75
|Florida Gulf Coast||33||42||75|
|Stats at a Glance||UPST||FGCU|
|FG Percentage||.397 (25-63)||.464 (26-56)|
|3P FG Percentage||.292 (7-24)||.471 (8-17)|
|FT Percentage||.852 (23-27)||.556 (15-27)|
CANTINOL - 6
TEAM - 6
COMER - 3
COOK - 2
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Freshman Ty Greene scored a season-high 21 points for the second straight game and redshirt sophomore Ricardo Glenn notched a double-double to lead USC Upstate to an 80-75 Atlantic Sun win over FGCU in a tightly played contest at Alico Arena on Monday night.
In a game that featured nine lead changes and seven ties, neither team held a lead of more than five points until late in the second half when the Spartans used an 8-0 run to take the largest lead of the game (10), 68-58, with 4:47 left to play.
Back-to-back three-pointers by junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) separated by just 14 seconds with under a minute to play quickly trimmed a nine-point Upstate lead down to 74-71.
Unfortunately, for the Eagles that would be as close as they would come, as the Spartans grew the lead back to three possessions with 10 seconds to play en route to handing FGCU (3-7, 1-1) its first home loss of the season. USC Upstate improves to 8-5 on the season, including 2-0 in the A-Sun, and ends a four-game, 10-day road swing with back-to-back victories.
“Give USC Upstate a lot of credit, they out-played us,” said head coach Andy Enfield. “We had our opportunities to take the lead or expand a lead we already had, but they prevented us from doing that. I thought we did some things well at times, but in a league game you’ve got to put in a full 40 minutes.”
Four players reached double figures for FGCU, led by 16 points from freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS). Thompson scored 12 of his points in the second half, going 6-of-9 from the field to finish in double-digits for a team-best seventh time this season. Fellow freshman Dante Holmes (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances/Oldsmar Christian) finished with a season-high 15 points, becoming the eighth FGCU player to reach double figures this season. Holmes’ 15 points highlighted a 30-point night from the Eagles’ bench, giving the Green and Blue and double figure scorer off the pine in eight of 10 games.
Greene poured in 14 of his 21 points in the second half to lead all scorers with his third 20-point game of the season. Greene’s 7-of-8 night at the free throw line was part of a 23-of-27 night for the Spartans at the charity stripe compared to FGCU knocking down 15-of-27. The only other Spartan in double figures, Glenn finished with 15 points and added a game-high 10 rebounds.
FGCU owned a 21-7 edge on the glass late in the first half, but finished with a slim 38-35 advantage. Both teams crashed the offensive end hard, combining for 29 offensive rebounds, but Upstate converted its offensive caroms into a 14-7 edge in second chance points.
For the fifth time this season, FGCU limited an opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. USC Upstate produced a 39.7 percent clip that was hurt by an off-night from reigning A-Sun Freshman of the Year Torrey Craig, who was 1-of-11 for the game. The Eagles shot a respectable 46 percent (26-56) and 8-of-17 from long range.
Trailing 28-23, FGCU limited the Spartans to just three points over the final 4:58, closing the first half on a 10-2 run that was fueled by defense. Over the final five minutes, Upstate came away with points on just two of its final nine possessions thanks to 1-for-8 shooting and three turnovers.
The end result of the Green and Blue’s defensive stand to close the first stanza was a 33-31 lead at the half.
Sophomore Chase Fieler (Parkersburg, W. Va./Parkersburg South HS) chipped in 12 points and a career-high five blocks. Fieler’s five blocks are the third-best single-game total in program history. Brown was the final double figure scorer with 10 points, while sophomore Christophe Varidel (Versoix, Switzerland/Worcester Academy) had nine points.
FGCU will stay in sunny Southwest Florida for its next game before the Christmas holiday, hosting a non-conference contest against MAC foe Toledo on Thursday night. Gametime at Alico Arena on Dec. 22 is slated for 7:05 p.m.
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