ROCK HILL, S.C. (USC Upstate SID) – Jockeying for position in the Big South standings as the season gets down to the final weeks, USC Upstate men’s basketball earned a jump in the standings as it completed the season sweep of Winthrop with a wire-to-wire 79-70 victory.
In a similar fashion to its earlier season victory over the Eagles, Upstate frustrated the Winthrop offense with defensive pressure, holding its opponent to 35.1 percent from the floor and 22.7 percent from three. The Spartans also forced 12 turnovers in the game, generating eight via the steal as sophomore guard Jordan Gainey—the Big South’s steals leader—swiped four steals.
Offensively, the Spartans secured their third straight game shooting greater than 50 percent, doing so in each game of the team’s three-game winning streak, shooting 50.0 percent from the field. Upstate also used the three-ball to its advantage, making nine attempts from beyond the arc and shooting 45.0 percent from three.
Four Spartans finished the game in double-figures with Gainey and freshman guard Justin Bailey pouring in 16 points apiece. Joining the duo, senior forward Nick Alves added 13 points—his first double-figure scoring game during Big South play—and redshirt sophomore guard Trae Broadnax added 10.
Score: USC Upstate 79; Winthrop 70
Records: USC Upstate (12-13; 7-7 Big South); Winthrop (11-16; 7-7 Big South)
Location: Winthrop Coliseum | Rock Hill, S.C.
How It Happened
- Despite losing the opening tip, Upstate took control early, forcing a Winthrop turnover on its first possession before opening the game on a 5-0 scoring run. After five straight Eagle points, the Spartans scored six straight into the media to take an early advantage.
- Out of the first stoppage, the Spartans continued their scoring run with five more points, running the scoring stretch to 11-0. The run saw five Spartans contribute points as the balance scoring trend of the first half showed for Upstate.
- With a quick second media following the Eagle timeout, the two sides traded baskets spanning the under-12 stoppage. Both teams crafted 5-0 scoring stretches into the under-eight timeout with Upstate holding a 10-point lead.
- While the scoring was close over the final eight minutes of the half—Upstate outscoring Winthrop 15 to 12—the Spartans used the three ball to swing momentum in their favor into the locker room. Upstate knocked down three triples to close the half, making seven shots from beyond the arc in the half to carry a 13-point advantage into the locker room.
- Not content with its 13-point halftime advantage, Upstate came out of the locker room on a mission to start the second half. The Spartans led a 9-4 scoring run out of the half with Trae Broadnax scoring four and Justin Bailey three in the stretch.
- Answering the Spartans’ scoring stretch to start the half, Winthrop used a 9-0 scoring run to cut the Upstate lead back to single digits. Spurring the Eagles’ run, Winthrop held without a field goal for over five minutes, the Spartans’ longest scoring drought of the game.
- Building the lead back to double-digits, Upstate answered the long Winthrop run with an 11-2 scoring stretch as the lead grew back to 18. Ahmir Langlais led the scoring run with seven of his nine points, each coming on consecutive possessions for Upstate.
- Attempting to claw back into the game, the Eagles crafted an 8-0 scoring run to trim the Spartan lead to eight. Upstate held on for the win by edging out Winthrop 6-5 over the final three minutes for the nine-point victory.
- Scoring in double-figures with 16 points and 10 points, respectively, Jordan Gainey and Trae Broadnax each secured their team-leading 11th double-figure scoring game during Big South play. With his 16 points, Justin Bailey secured his 10th double-figure scoring game in conference play.
- Getting 33 points from the bench, Upstate—getting 25 or more bench points in each game during the three-game winning streak—secured the team’s 12th game this season with 25 or more points from its reserves. The Spartans improved to 9-3 in such games this season.
- With nine made threes Saturday, Upstate has hit seven or more threes in four straight games. The Spartans extended their streak of games with a made three-pointer to 865 games, including all 498 games played at the NCAA Division I level (2007-pres.).
Up Next for the Spartans
Following the team’s quick trip to Winthrop, the Spartans return home to the G.B. Hodge Center Wednesday for the team’s penultimate home game. Upstate hosts Longwood, closing the season series with the Lancers with a 7 p.m. tip-off.