The USC Upstate men’s basketball team begins a five-game homestand Thursday at 3:30 p.m. when the Spartans host FIU from the Hodge Center in the opening game of the Spartanburg Marriott Upstate Classic.
The tournament also features Cal State Fullerton and Wright State, with the Titans and Raiders slated to tipoff Thursday at 6 p.m. Upstate will take on Cal State Fullerton Friday at 6 p.m. and Wright State Saturday at 6 p.m. It will be the first meeting in school history for Upstate against all three teams.
Upstate enters the tournament with a 3-1 overall record after suffering a 76-69 setback at UCF Sunday night. Despite the loss, the Spartans had five players in double figures, marking the first time in the Division I era an Upstate team has accomplished that feat in back-to-back games. The Spartans featured six players in double figures Nov. 20 against Bob Jones University.
Senior guard Ty Greene scored 14 points against the Knights and currently leads the Atlantic Sun with 17.0 points per game. The Knoxville, Tenn., native is also first in the league with 3.3 three-pointers made per game and is just five shy of 200 for his career. Additionally, Greene is tied for the conference lead with 2.5 steals per game.
Mario Blessing also poured in 14 points to go along with eight assists Sunday night and now stands second in the league with 6.0 assists per game. In addition, Blessing was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and ranks second in the conference with a .600 three-point percentage.
Sophomore Michael Buchanan finished just shy of a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds, which included five offensive rebounds. The Las Vegas, Nev., native is tops in the conference with 3.3 offensive rebounds per game.
FIU saw its season opening three-game winning streak come to an end Monday with a 78-72 loss at Georgia Southern. Upstate will be the second team from the A-Sun that FIU has played this season, as the Panthers won 53-52 Nov. 18 at Stetson. Adrian Diaz leads FIU with 15. 8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Cal State Fullerton owns a 1-2 overall record following a 70-66 victory over San Jose State Nov. 22. Moses Morgan leads the Titans with 16.3 points per game, while Joe Boyd pulls down a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game.
Wright State picked up an 86-79 win at Charleston Southern Nov. 22 to move to 3-1 this season. Chrishawn Hopkins scores a team-high 18.3 points per game, while Joe Thomasson is tops on the Raiders with 8.3 rebounds per game.