Spartanburg, S.C. (USC Upstate SID) – Deion Holmes scored a game-high 15 points to lead four Spartans in double-figures as the USC Upstate men’s basketball team closed out its regular season on Thursday evening with a 76-67 defeat to the NJIT Highlanders on Senior Night from Eddie and Ann Payne Arena in the G.B. Hodge Center.
USC Upstate falls to 7-24 overall and 2-12 in the ASUN while NJIT improves to 14-15 on the season and 7-7 in conference play.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
- Holmes was one of four Spartans to score at least 10 points with his 15 to lead all players.
- Mike Cunningham and Ramel Thompkins both contributed 13 points while Thomas Booker came off the bench to score 10 on 5-of-9 shooting.
- Booker also tied his career-high of six rebounds with five coming on the offensive side.
- Cunningham and Booker both dished out three assists.
- Thompkins added four blocks and two steals.
- Shawndale Jones led the Highlanders with 13 points, and Diandre Wilson, Zach Cooks and Donovan Greer all collected 11.
- Abdul Lewis finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.
- USC Upstate finished the game shooting 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the field and made 12-of-16 free throw attempts for a 75.0 percent mark.
- Both teams finished with two fast break points.
- The game featured 12 lead changes and eight ties.
FIRST HALF BREAKDOWN
- The Spartans scored 12 of the first 19 points to start the game and held a 12-7 lead with 16:40 left on a 3-pointer by Carson Smith.
- USC Upstate continued its run just over two minutes later and took its largest lead of the game at 19-9 with 14:10 remaining on a jumper from Booker.
- Holmes kept the Spartans ahead 22-16 at the 11:31 mark following his dunk.
- NJIT answered with a 10-2 run over the next 1:54 and took a 26-24 lead.
- USC Upstate came back with six straight points to go in front 30-26 with 8:41 to go capped by a four-point play from Thompkins.
- Booker maintained the four-point lead for the Spartans less than a minute later after his jumper made the score 32-28.
- After the Highlanders tied the game at 32-32, neither team led by more than three points over the final 6:34 with the score being tied four times.
- NJIT recorded the final five points and led 44-42 at halftime.
SECOND HALF BREAKDOWN
- The Highlanders began the second half on a 12-4 run over the first 6:15 and went ahead 56-46 with 13:45 remaining on a layup by Jones.
- The Spartans cut the lead down to seven points, 59-52, at the 10:45 mark when Smith connected on a jumper.
- NJIT answered with the next eight points and extended its lead out to 67-52 at the 8:28 mark.
- The Highlanders held their largest lead of the game, 16 points, twice over the final four minutes of play.
- A 3-pointer by Wilson gave NJIT a 76-60 lead with 2:25 left in the game.
- USC Upstate concluded the game on a 7-0 run covering the last 2:05 with Booker scoring four of the points.
- The Spartans held the Highlanders without a basket for the final 2:24.
- Booker’s layup with 16 seconds left put the final score at 76-67.
- USC Upstate is the eighth seed in next week’s ASUN Men’s Basketball Championship and will travel to top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, Feb. 26 for a 7 p.m. tip-off in the quarterfinal round.