Spartans Advance to Second Round of CIT with 73-58 Win over Kent State

March 16, 2012 at 9:06 am

The USC Upstate men’s basketball team led wire-to-wire as the club claimed a 15-point victory over visiting Kent State Thursday night in the first round of the Tournament.

For the first time in the D-I era, the Spartans picked up a post-season win with the victory over the Golden Flashes.  It is also the first win in the month of March for Upstate since a 73-49 victory over Armstrong Atlantic State in the Peach Belt Conference Championship (3/5/06).

Upstate (21-12), despite having two weeks off from competition, showed little signs of rust in the early going as the Spartans jumped out to a 23-8 lead at the under 12-minute media timeout (11:17).  The Spartans scored the first six points of the contest and held Kent State (21-12) scoreless for the first 4:50 of the game.  During the early Spartan surge, five different Spartans scored.

Upstate was able to maintain a double-digit lead for the remainder of the first half, leading by as many as 20 (34-14; 4:32) in the opening half.  The Spartans, who forced 15 turnovers in the first half, owned a 40-22 advantage at intermission.  Upstate turned the 15 Golden Flash miscues into 20 points in the first half.

Kent State was able to trim the lead down to eight, 49-41, with a 19-9 run over the first 7:44 of the second half.  It was the first time the Golden Flashes trailed by single digits since the 12:29 mark of the first half (17-8).

Upstate responded with a 12-3 run to take a 61-44 lead with just over eight minutes to play.  The Spartans were able to maintain a double-digit lead over the final eight minutes en route to the 15-point win inside the Hodge Center.

Torrey Craig (Great Falls, S.C.) paced the Spartans with a game-high 17 points (12 in the second-half) while Ty Greene (Knoxville, Tenn.) pitched in 16 points and tallied five steals.  Jodd Maxey (Statham, Ga.) finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four steals with Ricardo Glenn tallying 12 points and eight rebounds (six offensive).

Upstate tallied a season-best 17 steals while Kent State committed a season high 25 turnovers.

Justin Greene paced Kent State with 12 points and six rebounds.  Kent State’s season comes to a close as the squad finishes 2011-12 with a 21-12 record.

The Spartans will hit the road for the second round of the Tournament as the club will travel to Norfolk, Va., to face Colonial Athletic Association member Old Dominion Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.