Spartanburg, S.C. (USC Upstate) – Torrey Craig scored 25 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead USC Upstate to its fourth straight victory following an 80-61 win over Atlantic Sun leader Mercer Sunday afternoon from the Hodge Center.
Ricardo Glenn finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds to become the first Spartan since Bobby Davis in 2009 to have a double-double in four consecutive games. Jodd Maxey added 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots to help Upstate snap Mercer’s eight-game winning streak.
Anthony White paced Mercer with 12 points to go along with four rebounds, while Darious Moten added 10 points off the bench.
Mercer opened the game strong and quickly built a 7-2 lead just over three minutes into play. USC Upstate answered with a 17-0 run over the next 3:58 to open up a 17-7 lead midway through the half. Jibir Bryan halted the Mercer scoreless streak with a three-pointer thereafter, but Upstate responded with a 15-6 run to build a 32-16 edge with 7:24 remaining before halftime.
Upstate would go on to lead by as many as 20 points only to see Mercer outscore the Spartans 8-2 over the final 2:53 to pull within 44-30 at halftime.
An old fashioned three-point play from Karim Mawuenyega put Upstate ahead 49-33 less than two minutes into the second half. Mercer countered with an 11-2 run capped by a jumper from Bud Thomas to cut the Spartan deficit to 51-44 at the 13:53 mark. Craig buried a three-pointer on the ensuing Spartan possession to push the lead back to double digits.
Upstate and Mercer went back-and-forth over the next few minutes before Bryan hit a layup at the 8:45 mark to leave the Bears trailing 61-54. Four straight points from Glenn thereafter quickly catapulted the Upstate lead back to 11 points.
After both teams went scoreless for the next 2:49, Fred Miller hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to push the lead out to 14 points with just over four minutes to play. Craig put the exclamation point on the victory with a three-point play to put Upstate ahead 71-58 with two minutes on the clock.
Upstate held Mercer to 1-for-7 shooting from the field over the final 1:45 and went 7-for-8 from the free throw line during that stretch to secure Upstate’s first victory over Mercer since 2009.
USC Upstate returns to action Thursday at 6 p.m. when the Spartans travel to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Lipscomb from Allen Arena.