The USC Upstate men’s basketball team begins its journey for an NCAA Tournament bid Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the third-seeded Spartans host No. 6 seed Kennesaw State in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament from the Hodge Center.
Upstate finished third in the conference standings after posting an 8-6 record in league play, which included a season sweep over conference champion North Florida. Overall, Upstate registered 21 wins and needs just one more to set a school record for the most single season wins during the Division I era.
Individually, Spartan senior Ty Greene finished the regular season first in the conference and 14th in the NCAA with 20.1 points per game and was named the A-Sun Player of the Year on Monday. His scoring average is the highest in the A-Sun in five seasons and the highest at Upstate since the 1991-92 season. The Knoxville, Tenn., native also led the league in three-pointers made with 2.9 per game and steals per game with 2.2.
Fred Miller ranks 11th in the league with 12.5 points per game and is second in both assists (4.2 apg) and steals (1.9 spg). The Atlanta, Ga., native is also third in the A-Sun with a .810 free throw percentage.
Junior ShunQuez Stephens turned in his fourth double digit rebound game of the season Saturday at Northern Kentucky and enters the postseason third in the A-Sun in rebounding with 6.0 per game. Sophomore Michael Buchanan is fourth with 5.9 rebounds per game and second with 2.5 offensive rebounds per game.
Kennesaw State closed the regular season having lost four of its last five games and finished with a 10-21 overall record and a 4-10 mark inside the league. The Owls, however, did win two of their last four road games.
Junior guard Yonel Brown leads Kennesaw State and ranks third in the conference with 15.7 points per game, while Orlando Coleman grabs a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game. Nigel Pruitt (11.7 ppg) and Damien Wilson (10.7 ppg) also score in double figures for the Owls.
USC Upstate and Kennesaw State will be meeting on the hardwood for the 32nd time when the two schools tipoff Tuesday. Upstate owns a 21-10 record in the all-time series that began during the 1992-93 season. The Spartans have won eight of the last nine in the series after sweeping the Owls in the regular season. In addition, Upstate has beaten Kennesaw State eight straight times inside the Hodge Center and has not lost at home to the Owls since Jan. 17, 2004. Upstate won its two game against Kennesaw State this season by an average of 15.5 points per game.