CHARLOTTE, N.C. (USC Upstate SID) – What just happened? The words of head coach Dave Dickerson summarize USC Upstate men’s basketball’s comeback victory over Gardner-Webb in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Hercules Tires Big South Men’s Basketball Championship.
Anything can happen in March. Trailing by two with nine seconds to play, Upstate’s defense went to work as redshirt sophomore guard Floyd Rideau Jr. and senior Mysta Goodloe stepped into the passing lane and swiped a steal that set up the most improbable ending to an Upstate game this season. Taking the ball and fashioning himself as open a contested look he could get, sophomore guard Jordan Gainey banked a three off the top of the backboard and down through the net with 0.1 seconds remaining to put the Spartans ahead 77-76.
Withstanding a final full-court heave that fell short from Gardner-Webb, the Spartans stood tall, victorious and advancing to the semifinals of the tournament for the second straight season. The win brings Upstate another rematch with a regional rival and No. 1 seed UNC Asheville tomorrow at noon.
Game Information
Score: No. 4 USC Upstate 77; No. 5 Gardner-Webb 76
Records: USC Upstate (16-14; 10-8 Big South); Gardner-Webb (15-16; 10-8 Big South)
Location: Bojangles Coliseum | Charlotte, N.C.
How It Happened
First Half

  • Opening the game with the first of his game-high 25 points, Jordan Gainey put Upstate on the board first with a floater in the lane. The bucket kickstarted a 7-3 start for the Spartans to the game before Gardner-Webb hit its second three of the game to pull within one at the first media stoppage.
  • Adding to its three ahead of the media, Gardner-Webb fashioned an 8-0 run to build its first sustained lead of the afternoon. Upstate began chipping away and went ahead with a 6-2 scoring run that set up a back-and-forth couple of minutes.
  • After going back and forth, the Spartans took control with their longest scoring run of the half, scoring seven straight points to open up a six-point lead. The Runnin’ Bulldogs battled back with a 7-0 run of their own to retake the lead.
  • Seeing Gardner-Webb use a 4-0 run to open up a three-point advantage into the final three minutes of the half, Upstate’s Mysta Goodloe tied the game with a three with 2:40 to play in the half. Closing the period, Gardner-Webb scored the final three points with a jumper and made free throw to take a lead into half.

Second Half

  • Out of the locker room, Gardner-Webb carried the momentum, adding the first five points of the half to create an 8-0 run and a seven-point lead. Gainey helped Upstate battle back, scoring the team’s first seven points of the half to stay within striking distance.
  • Pushing the lead back to six, Gardner-Webb’s Kareem Reid scored four consecutive points, scoring the first eight for the Runnin’ Bulldogs in the half. The lead hung around six points for nearly two-and-a-half minutes before Upstate used a second 7-0 scoring stretch to retake the lead with 13 minutes to play.
  • The Spartans’ final lead of the half came with 12:26 to play as Gardner-Webb built back its lead with a pair of 5-0 scoring runs, eventually stretching the lead to eight with six minutes to play. Not shying away from the deficit, Upstate used an 11-2 scoring stretch to pull within one with a minute to play.
  • Anthony Seldon scored four straight points for Gardner-Webb to put the Runnin’ Bulldogs up five with 16 seconds to play before Jordan Gainey took over the game for the Spartans. He hit a three with nine seconds to play before the Spartans’ defense earned the ball back, putting it in Gainey’s hands to hit the game-winner.


  • Leading all scorers Friday night, Jordan Gainey earned his eighth 20-plus point scoring game of the season and 13th of his career with 25 points against Gardner-Webb. The game marks his first with 20 or more points since Feb. 8 vs. Charleston Southern and the 25 points are his most against a conference opponent, surpassing his 24-point game versus Winthrop on Jan. 26, 2022.
  • Scoring just six points in the first half, Gainey scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half. The total marks his most in the second half of a game this season and are the second most he’s scored after halftime in a game this season, second only to his 22 points post-halftime versus South Carolina State.
  • Joining Gainey in double-figures, Trae Broadnax and Khydarius Smith added 12 points apiece while Mysta Goodloe contributed 10 points, as the same quartet of scorers reached double-figures for the second straight game against the Runnin’ Bulldogs. With four players in double-figures, Upstate improves to 12-1 in games with four or more double-figure scorers.
  • Advancing to the semifinal round of the 2023 Hercules Tires Men’s Basketball, Upstate has reached the final four of the Big South tournament for the second straight season.