Ty Greene scored 26 points and moved into ninth place on the USC Upstate all-time scoring list as the Spartans turned in a 68-54 victory over Hampton Saturday afternoon from the Hodge Center.
Greene was 7-for-14 from the floor and hit 10-of-11 free throws and has scored 1,415 points during his Upstate career. Fred Miller added 10 points, two assists and two steals and Michael Buchanan chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.
Brian Darden led Hampton with 14 points and Quinton Chievous added 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. Dwight Meikle finished with nine points and a career-high 19 rebounds to help the Pirates hold a 40-38 rebounding edge.
USC Upstate committed six turnovers in the first six minutes of the game to allow Hampton to build an early 8-0 lead. But the Spartans answered with a 24-8 run to open up a 22-14 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the half. Upstate then held Hampton scoreless for the final 3:15 and outscored the Pirates 8-0 during that stretch to take a 35-22 halftime lead.
A tip-in from Jacob Schulte midway through the second half put Upstate ahead 49-30 before a layup from Chievous and back-to-back three-pointers from Darden cut the deficit to 11 with 10:29 remaining. Josh Cuthbertson and Schulte pushed the lead up to 15 with baskets on back-to-back Spartan possessions.
Upstate held a double digit lead until Meikle pull Hampton within nine points with a jumper with 54 seconds left. The Spartans, however, went 5-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to improve to 8-1 at home.
Hampton is the third straight opponent to fail to reach 60 points against the Upstate defense, as the Spartans entered play ranked 24th in the NCAA in fewest points allowed.
Ironically, USC Upstate and Hampton played to an identical 68-54 final score March 12, 1982, in the NAIA National Tournament Semifinals. The Spartans would go on to defeat Biola 51-38 one day later to claim the NAIA National Championship.
Upstate returns to action Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. when the Spartans travel to Kansas City, Mo., to take on UMKC from Municipal Auditorium.