SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Back at home for the first time in two games and looking to get back into the win column by remaining undefeated at the G.B. Hodge Center, USC Upstate men’s basketball did just that as it downed visiting Columbia International Wednesday night.
 
Owing to the Spartans’ victory over the Rams, each member of the team’s starting five scored in double-figures as sophomore guard Jordan Gainey led the way with his second 20-plus point scoring effort of the year with a career-high 26 points, including 21 first-half points. He shot 57.1 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three as he made 8-of-14 field goal and 4-of-9 three-point attempts on the night.
 
Joining Gainey in double-figures were senior guard Nick Alves, redshirt sophomore guard Floyd Rideau Jr., redshirt sophomore guard Trae Broadnax, and senior forward Khydarius Smith who added 15, 12, 11, and 10 points, respectively. Complementing the quintet of double-figure scorers, junior forward Seny N’Diaye corralled a career-best 14 rebounds, pulling in six of his 14 boards off the offensive glass.
 
Game Information
Score: USC Upstate 93; Columbia International 59
Records: USC Upstate (3-4); Columbia International (4-4)
Location: G.B. Hodge Center | Spartanburg, S.C.
 
How It Happened
First Half

  • While Columbia International may have gotten itself on the board first, Upstate provided a quick answer with a score on each of its first two possessions to stake an early lead. Khydarius Smith went to work in the paint for a layup to score the Spartans’ first two points before a Jordan Gainey steal led to a Gainey three and a 5-0 scoring run.
  • Seeing the Rams retake the lead with a trio of free throws coming out of the game’s first media timeout, Gainey took it upon himself to regain the lead for the Spartans as he knocked down a three before hitting a layup to fashion a personal 5-0 scoring stretch. He’d go on to score eight straight Upstate points as he answered a Columbia International layup with an and-one conversion to push the lead to five.
  • With the game going back-and-forth and the lead staying within one possession heading to the half’s final media stoppage, Upstate went into the media with the beginnings of its longest scoring run of the half, scoring five straight points. Out of the stoppage, the Spartans tacked on four more points to create a 9-0 scoring run that opened the lead to nine.
  • Heading into halftime, the Spartans had the Hodge rocking as they built their 10-point halftime advantage. Driving the baseline, Smith threw down a vicious tomahawk dunk to grab momentum before Gainey found Smith streaking to the basket as the two connected on an alley-oop.

 
Second Half

  • Coming out of the half, Columbia International hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to single digits. Into the first media timeout of the second half, the two teams went back and forth with one another as the lead fluctuated from eight to 11 points into the stoppage.
  • Out of the first media, Upstate embarked on a 9-0 scoring run, equaling the team’s longest scoring stretch of the first half, as it pushed the lead to double-digits for the final time in the game. Gainey scored five of the nine points in the run, pushing him to 26 for the game as Nick Alves and Justin Bailey combined for the remaining four points.
  • After seeing the 9-0 scoring run snapped with a three-pointer, Upstate began to lock down defensively, holding the Rams without consecutive field goals for the remainder of the half—Upstate didn’t allow Columbia International to make consecutive field goals in the second half. Following the three, the Spartans used another 9-0 run to grow the lead to 20 points for the first time.
  • With the second 9-0 scoring run of the second half broken by a layup, the Spartans did themselves one better with their longest scoring run of the second half with 10 unanswered points. Punctuating the run, Floyd Rideau Jr. hit a three to put the Spartans up 30-plus for the first time in the game. From the start of the 10-0 run until the end of the game, Upstate outscored Columbia International 20-8 to close the game.

 
Notable

  • Behind his game and career-high 26 points Wednesday versus Columbia International, Jordan Gainey secured his 20th career game scoring 15 or more points and his seventh scoring 20 or more points. With two 20-plus point scoring efforts this season, he’s the first Spartan since Michael Buchanan (two), Mike Cunningham (two), and Deion Holmes (two) in 2016-17 with multiple 20-plus point scoring games in the Spartans’ first seven games of the season.
  • Pulling in a career-high 14 rebounds, including six off the offensive glass, Seny N’Diaye secured his first career double-figure rebounding game and the second double-digit rebounding game for a Spartan this season. His 14 rebounds are the most in a game for the Spartans since Bryson Mozone corralled 14 boards on Dec. 31, 2020, against High Point.
  • Coming off the bench and playing 10 minutes Wednesday against Columbia International, Thomas Sheida passed out a career-high five assists, tying for the team lead in the category with Floyd Rideau Jr. whose total also marked a career-high.
  • With Jordan Gainey knocking down the game’s first three, he extended Upstate’s streak of games with a made three-pointer to at least 627 straight games (game-by-game statistics limited) dating back through the 2002-03 season. The Spartans have hit a three in each of the team’s 480 games in the Division I era (2007-pres.).

 
UP Next for the Spartans
After a one-game detour at the G.B. Hodge Center, Upstate heads back out on the road Saturday as non-conference play continues at Western Carolina. The Spartans and Catamounts are slated for a 5:30 p.m. ET tip-off from Cullowhee, N.C.