The USC Upstate men’s basketball team opened its home schedule Thursday evening with a 67-55 defeat to the Navy Midshipmen inside the Hodge Center despite a career-high 18 points from freshman Deion Holmes.
Upstate falls to 0-3 on the season while Navy improves to 1-2 overall.
Holmes eclipsed his career-high in scoring for the second straight contest after scoring 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting, while also connecting on three three-pointers and going 3-for-3 at the free throw line. Michael Buchanan and Damian Goodwin tied for the team-lead in rebounds with six.
Shawn Anderson led three Navy players in double-figures with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Tilman Dunbar added 11 points and Jace Hogan chipped in 10. Kendall Knorr posted a game-high seven rebounds.
The Midshipmen jumped out to an early 7-0 lead over the game’s opening 3:29 as Hogan’s jumper put Navy in front by seven. The Spartans answered back with a 7-2 run of its own to cut their deficit to 9-7 following a jumper by Holmes two minutes later. The Midshipmen managed to push their lead back to seven before Upstate got to within three, 14-11, with 10:43 remaining on a free throw by Goodwin.
The free throw from Goodwin would be the last point for the Spartans for nearly four minutes as the Midshipmen built a 22-11 lead at the 7:10 mark on Hogan’s layup. A free throw by Buchanan ended the scoreless drought for Upstate while a three by Holmes cut its deficit to 22-15 with just over six minutes left before the half.
Navy led by double-digits for the final 4:47 and took its largest lead with 1:35 to go when a layup from Dunbar made it a 32-16 contest. The Midshipmen led 34-19 at intermission.
Navy maintained its double-digit advantage over a majority of the second half, leading by as many as 19 at the 13:51 mark when a tip-in by Edward Alade gave the Midshipmen a 47-28 lead.
A three-point play by Jure Span with 7:52 left sparked a 7-0 run by the Spartans over just 51 seconds as they trailed 55-49. Holmes scored six straight points during the run and made it a six-point game at the 7:01 mark with his three.
Navy increased its lead back to double-figures less than a minute later when Anderson’s field goal gave it a 59-49 lead. The Midshipmen would lead by as many as 14 after that when Will Kelly put them in front 67-53 with 3:14 remaining. Neither team scored over the last 2:21 as a pair of free throws by Holmes with 2:22 left on the clock put the final score at 67-55.
Upstate finished the game shooting 35.2% (19-of-54) overall while Navy posted a 46.6% (27-of-58) shooting percentage. The Spartans held a 12-8 advantage in points off turnovers and led 18-14 in bench points.
Upstate remains at home Saturday afternoon as it hosts Bob Jones at 2 p.m. in the opening game of the Palmetto State Shootout.