USC Upstate Travels to FGCU for ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship Opener

February 26, 2018 at 9:29 am

The USC Upstate men’s basketball team begins its journey for an NCAA Tournament bid on Monday evening when the Spartans travel to top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast for a 7 p.m. tip-off inside Alico Arena.

USC Upstate sits as the eighth seed for the ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship following a 7-24 overall record in the regular season and went 2-12 against conference opponents. The Spartans will be playing their 11th game all-time in the postseason tournament.

The ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament being played Feb. 26-Mar. 4 and will be held at campus sites as top seeds will host each successive round of the event. The winner of the Championship earns the ASUN’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Jure Span earned recognition from the conference on Saturday afternoon as the junior became the second two-time honoree on the ASUN All-Academic Team joining former Spartan Mario Blessing. Span was a unanimous selection to the team after compiling a 3.718 grade-point average while scoring 8.0 points per game this season.

USC Upstate had four players finish the regular season averaging 10.0 or more points per game in Deion Holmes, Malik Moore, Mike Cunningham and Ramel Thompkins. Holmes averaged a team-leading 15.7 points per game while Moore contributed 13.4, Cunningham 13.3 and Thompkins 10.7. Moore leads the team in rebounding with 6.0 per game.

Florida Gulf Coast is the top seed in the ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship after finishing the regular season with a 21-10 overall record and 12-2 mark in conference play. Brandon Goodwin leads the Eagles offensively averaging 18.4 points per game and is tied with Michael Gilmore for the team-lead in rebounding with a 5.7 per game average. FGCU is under the direction of fifth-year head coach Joe Dooley.

The Spartans and Eagles are meeting for the 24th time in program history with Florida Gulf Coast holding a 17-6 lead in the all-time series. The teams are also meeting for the third time in the ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship with the series tied 1-1. USC Upstate defeated Florida Gulf Coast in the last postseason meeting, 63-62, in Fort Myers during the 2014-15 season.

Fans can follow the action on via live stats. The game is being streamed on WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Updates will also be posted on the USC Upstate men’s basketball Twitter page (@UpstateMB).

The semifinals of the ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship will be played on Thursday, March 1. The winner of the USC Upstate-Florida Gulf Coast game will play the winner of NJIT-North Florida.