The USC Upstate men’s basketball team finishes a three-game road trip to begin conference play Saturday evening as it remains in the state of Florida to face the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at 7 p.m. inside Alico Arena.
Upstate currently sits at 7-12 on the season and 1-1 in A-Sun play, while Florida Gulf Coast is 11-7 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
The Spartans dropped their first conference game of the season Thursday evening after falling to Stetson 89-86 in overtime. Mike Cunningham scored a career-high 21 points against Stetson and led five Upstate players in double-figures along with Michael Buchanan (14), Josh Cuthbertson (13), Marvin Smith (10) and Jure Span (10). Buchanan finished with a team-high eight rebounds while Span dished out five assists.
The Eagles are under the direction of third-year head coach Joe Dooley, who is 112-83 during his career at both FGCU and East Carolina. Florida Gulf Coast is led by Marc-Eddy Norelia with 16.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Christian Terrell also contributes 13.5 points per contest. Reggie Reid dishes out a team-leading 4.1 assists per game.
The Spartans and Eagles are facing each other for the 18th time in program history Saturday with FGCU holding a 12-5 lead in the series. Upstate, in the last meeting, advanced to its first-ever A-Sun Tournament Championship Game after defeating Florida Gulf Coast 63-62 in Fort Myers on Mar. 5, 2015. The Eagles lead 6-3 all-time when playing in Fort Myers.
Fans can follow the action on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. The game is being streamed on ESPN3. Updates will also be posted on the Upstate men’s basketball Twitter page (@UPSTMBB).
The Spartans return to the Hodge Center for the first of three straight games Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. against North Florida in a rematch of last season’s A-Sun Tournament Championship Game.