SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Heading into the final two weeks of the regular season where every game matters towards the program’s seeding at the Big South Men’s Basketball Championship, USC Upstate men’s basketball took care of business Wednesday night and knocked off third-place Longwood 72-67, improving the team’s winning streak to four games—the team’s longest of the season.
As has been the case in the winning streak, especially over the last three games, Upstate hung its hat on the defensive end, holding its third consecutive opponent under 40.0 percent shooting as Longwood shot 39.0 percent from the floor. The Spartans also came up with five steals and four blocked shots as they continue to pace the Big South in both categories in league play.
For the third time in the four-game winning streak, the Spartans saw four players score in double-figures, improving to 10-1 in such games this season, as the reigning Big South Player of the Week, sophomore Jordan Gainey led the way with a game-high 17 points. Freshman guard Justin Bailey, senior forward Khydarius Smith, and redshirt sophomore guard Trae Broadnax chipped in 15, 14, and 11 points apiece to complete the quartet.
Score: USC Upstate 72; Longwood 67
Records: USC Upstate (13-13; 8-7 Big South); Longwood (18-10; 10-5 Big South)
Location: G.B. Hodge Center | Spartanburg, S.C.
How It Happened
- With a pair of threes sandwiching a pair of Longwood field goals and a layup, Jordan Gainey scored the Spartans’ first eight points of the game. Over their first six minutes, the two sides went back and forth before Upstate made consecutive field goals to stake an early 14-10 lead.
- With the consecutive baskets creating Upstate’s first scoring run, the Spartans used the four points and a subsequent three from Mysta Goodloe to answer a Longwood basket to create a 7-2 scoring run with Upstate’s lead reaching five. The Lancers countered with the team’s longest scoring run of the half, scoring eight straight points to regain the lead.
- Upstate answered with a second 7-2 scoring stretch to take back the advantage with Gainey, Khydarius Smith, and Trae Broadnax providing the Spartans’ scoring. With a pair of free throws, Longwood tied the game at 24 heading into the final five minutes of the half, the final tie of the game.
- Crafting a 6-0 run with a three and a three-point play, Justin Bailey delivered the Spartans the lead for the final time with the team’s longest scoring run of the first half. His six consecutive points led Upstate to outscore Longwood to close the half and hold a lead into the locker room.
- Opening the half on the team’s longest scoring run, Upstate scored the first eight points of the second half, forcing a Longwood timeout and the half’s first media. The run pushed the Spartan advantage to double-figures for the first time in the game.
- Following the stoppage, the Spartans grew their lead to its largest at 11 points on two occasions spanning the under-16 media timeout. Upstate did so by outscoring Longwood 14-5 to open the second half.
- Cutting the lead back to single digits, Longwood answered Upstate’s 14-5 stretch with a 6-0 scoring run to cut the lead to five. The Spartans responded with a 7-3 scoring stretch to grow the lead back to nine points.
- As the Lancers stayed in the game over the final eight minutes of the game, not trailing by more than 10 minutes to close the game, Upstate withstood some big Longwood shots with big shots of its own. The shot that sealed the deal for the Spartans saw Smith shake the defense for a thunderous slam with 10 seconds remaining.
- Entering the game as the reigning Big South Player of the Week, Jordan Gainey extended his double-figure scoring streak to a season-long eight games behind a game-high 17 points against Longwood. He’s scored in double-figures in 12 Big South games this season, tied with Trae Broadnax who added 11 points for the Spartans Wednesday.
- Trailing for two minutes and 11 seconds against the Lancers, Upstate has trailed for just two minutes and 29 seconds over its last three games. In those three games (120 minutes of game action), the Spartans have been without the lead for 10 minutes and 42 seconds.
- With four double-figure scorers versus Longwood, the Spartans have seen four or more players score 10 or more points in three of the past four games. On the season, Upstate is 10-1 in games with four-plus double-figure scorers.
- With eight made three-pointers Wednesday, Upstate improved its streak of games with a made three to 866 games dating back to the 1994-95 season. The streak includes each of the Spartans’ games at the NCAA Division I level, 499 games since the 2007-08 season.
Up Next for the Spartans
Coming off the team’s penultimate home game of the season, the Spartans head out for the team’s final road trip of the season, beginning with a weekend tilt at High Point. Upstate tips off with the Panthers at 4 p.m. ET Saturday.