ASHEVILLE, N.C. (USC SID) – Befitting a battle of teams jockeying for position atop the Big South standings, USC Upstate and UNC Asheville went back and forth Saturday afternoon before the Bulldogs ultimately pulled away in what was a game decided by defense.
The game saw both teams post shooting percentages within the 30s for the first time in multiple games—for the Spartans, it was the first game with a field goal percentage sub-40 percent in eight games. The difference on the defensive end was turnovers as Upstate committed 19 total and 13 second-half turnovers that ultimately swung the game in favor of the hosts.
Leading the Spartans against Asheville, it was a career night for redshirt sophomore guard Trae Broadnax as he poured in a career-high 19 points and pulled in a career-high-tying nine rebounds. He was joined in double-figures by sophomore guard Jordan Gainey and redshirt junior forward Ahmir Langlais who added 10 points apiece.
Score: UNC Asheville 64; USC Upstate 58
Records: USC Upstate (9-10; 4-4 Big South); UNC Asheville (15-6; 7-1 Big South)
Location: Kimmel Arena | Asheville, N.C.
How It Happened
- Capturing the opening tip, Asheville built an early lead by scoring the first six points of the game before a Trae Broadnax layup put Upstate on the board. The Bulldogs opened the game with an 8-2 run before Upstate recorded consecutive baskets.
- Battling back to tie the game with the aforementioned consecutive baskets, Trae Broadnax and Mysta Goodloe knocked down back-to-back treys to tie the game at 8-8. The Bulldogs answered, however, with five straight points into the game’s second media to regain the lead.
- Wrangling the game’s momentum and taking the lead for good in the first half, the Spartans crafted the game’s longest scoring run at 13-0. Justin Bailey and Ahmir Langlais took charge in the paint during the run, scoring six and five points, respectively, with eight of the 11 points coming within the paint.
- With the lead growing as large as eight for the Spartans in the half, Upstate stayed just ahead of the Bulldogs down the stretch, outscoring Asheville 13-8. Upstate took a two-point advantage into the halftime locker room.
- Despite seeing Upstate make the first bucket of the second half, it was Asheville that took the momentum by going on a 7-2 run. The run tied the game at 33 and forced an Upstate timeout and the first media stoppage of the second half.
- Just ahead of the successive media timeout at the under-16 stoppage, Broadnax snapped Asheville’s streak with a pull-up jumper to give the Spartans the lead once again. The Bulldogs answered out of the timeout with a 7-0 run to take the lead.
- Seeing his team trailing by five, Jordan Gainey got himself in the scoring column by fashioning a personal 10-0 scoring run with three consecutive three-pointers. The stretch reached 10 points as he converted the four-point play as he was fouled on his final made three.
- With Upstate taking the five-point lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game, Asheville turned up the defensive pressure to regain control and put away the game. The Bulldogs forced nine Upstate turnovers while getting to the line 12 times over the final 10 minutes, outscoring Upstate 22-11 to claim the six-point win.
- With his career-high 19 points, Trae Broadnax secured his team-leading seventh double-figure scoring game during the Spartans’ eight Big South games. The game also marked his third career game scoring 15 or more points and his first since dropping 16 points at Charleston Southern on Dec. 31.
- Entering the game ranked 39th in the NCAA in blocked shots per game (as of games through Jan. 19), the Spartans blocked six Asheville shots Saturday with Seny N’Diaye leading the way with four blocks. Upstate has collected six or more blocks in five straight games and six of eight Big South games.
- With Broadnax’s first-half triple, Upstate extended its streak of games with a made three-pointer to 859 games, a streak that dates back to the 1994-95 season. The streak includes each of the program’s 492 games at the NCAA Division I level (2007-pres.).
Up Next for the Spartans
Finalizing the first stretch of games versus regional rivals, Upstate wraps the trio of games Wednesday with its shortest conference road trip of the year, travelling to Gardner-Webb. The Spartans and Runnin’ Bulldogs are set for a 7 p.m. ET tip-off.