Florida Gulf Coast
(13-15, 8-9 A-Sun)
2/23/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. (Hodge Center) | Attendance: 782
|Florida Gulf Coast||24||50||74|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||UPST|
|3P FG Percentage||.333
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Fueled by a program Division I record 15 three-pointers and 30 points by sophomore Torrey Craig, USC Upstate jumped out to a big halftime lead and fought off a second half surge by FGCU for an 87-74 Atlantic Sun win Thursday night at the Hodge Center.
The loss drops the Eagles’ record to 13-15 overall and 8-9 in the A-Sun with one game remaining. Despite the loss, FGCU is guaranteed at least the No. 6 seed in the A-Sun Tournament due to Lipscomb’s loss at Mercer. USC Upstate meanwhile clinched the No. 3 seed with the win, improving to 19-11 and 12-5 in the A-Sun.
Craig had over half of the Spartans’ three-pointers, knocking down 8-of-14 from long range while adding nine rebounds and five assists. Freshman Ty Greene made it two Spartans with 20 points, going for 22 points on 5-of-6 from three.
FGCU received a pair of 20-point games of its own, as junior Sherwood Brown (Orlando, Fla./Olympia HS) and freshman Bernard Thompson (Conyers, Ga./Rockdale County HS) both reached the plateau. Brown’s team-best fourth 20-point game came on 9-of-23 from the field for 24 points and also featured seven rebounds. Thompson poured in 17 of his 20 in the second half, hitting on 4-of-6 from three-point land.
Both teams were active on the offensive glass, combining for 43 offensive rebounds in a game that featured 135 shots. FGCU was able to corral its second straight game with at least 20 offensive rebounds resulting in 23 second chance points, but couldn’t overcome its 38 percent shooting night. On the flipside, USC Upstate shot 52 percent (15-29) from three and 46 percent (28-61) overall from the field.
The first half was all USC Upstate, as the Spartans knocked down 10-of-18 from three-point land over the opening 20 minutes to build a commanding 46-24 lead at the break. Craig was the catalyst to the big first half, knocking down 6-of-11 from long range, while Greene’s three in the winding seconds was his third of the frame and gave the Spartans the 46-24 advantage.
USC Upstate’s lead reached as large as 28, 66-38, with 13:21 left in the second, but the Eagles began chipping away at the deficit with 12 straight points. Thompson scored the first five and seven total during the 12-0 run that cut the score to 66-50 before the midway point of the half.
After a four straight points from the Spartans, FGCU continued to build on its 12-0 run, drawing to within eight, 76-68, with 2:25 to play. The 10-minute span that started with the Eagles trailing by 28 saw the visitors score on 14-of-19 possessions, using a ton of offensive rebounds and no turnovers to out-score the Spartans 30-10 during that span.
Unfortunately, for FGCU, it couldn’t get any closer than seven a couple of times in the final two minutes en route to falling short of its fifth A-Sun road win of the year.
On the bright side, the Eagles committed a season-low eight turnovers, including just one in the second half. FGCU out-scored Upstate 50-41 in the final 20 minutes, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds that led to 19 points.
FGCU will wrap up regular season play on Saturday at ETSU in a game that can be seen live on ESPN3.com. Matt Stewart (P-B-P) and Sonny Smith (Analyst) will have the call from the MSHA Athletic Center starting at 4 p.m.