Rock Hill, S.C. (USC Upstate) – Trailing by as many as 14 points in the second half, the USC Upstate men’s basketball team used an 8-0 run over a 2:34 stretch to pull within three points, but Winthrop held on for an 82-74 victory Wednesday night from the Winthrop Coliseum.
A Christian Farmer dunk put Winthrop ahead 72-61 with 5:35 left in the game, but Upstate senior Torrey Craig scored four straight points and Ty Greene followed with a jumper in the paint to pull the Spartans within five points with 3:27 to play. Fred Miller picked off an Andre Smith pass and raced for a layup on the other end to leave Upstate trailing by only three with 3:11 remaining.
James Bourne converted an old fashioned three-point play on the ensuing Winthrop possession to put the Eagles ahead by six, but Craig hit his fifth three-pointer of the night on Upstate’s next trip down the floor to cut the deficit back three points at 75-72.
Following turnovers by both teams, Smith hit a baseline jumper to push the Winthrop lead up to five points. Upstate was unsuccessful on its next trip down the floor, and Smith went 4-for-4 from the free throw line over the final 26 seconds to secure the victory.
Craig tied his career-high with 31 points to go along with nine rebounds, while Greene poured in 21 points and tied his career-high with seven assists. Ricardo Glenn added 14 points and three rebounds.
Smith finished with 21 points for Winthrop and was 4-for-6 from three-point range. Joab Jerome added 19 points and five rebounds, while Tevin Prescott chipped in with 10 points.
Craig scored 17 points in the first half and his three-pointer at the 12:51 put Upstate ahead 16-8 to give the Spartans their largest lead of the period. The Eagles answered with a 10-3 run over the next 2:39 to cut the Upstate lead to one point at 19-18 on a three-pointer from Jerome.
The two teams went back-and-forth for the next four minutes before the Spartans built their lead back to five points on a layup from Greene. Greene finished the first half with 15 points and had three 3-pointers. Winthrop used a basket and a pair of free throws on its next two possessions to pull back to within one point, but a trey from Greene put Upstate back ahead by four with just over four minutes remaining.
Back-to-back baskets from Prescott tied the game at 36-36 with 2:40 left on the clock, but Craig hit a three-pointer just over a minute later to give Upstate a 39-36 advantage. Smith answered on the other end with a three-pointer of his own to pull Winthrop even and leave the score tied 39-39 at the half.
USC Upstate returns to action Saturday at 7 p.m. when the Spartans travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to take on Tennessee.
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