SPARTANBURG, S.C. (USC Upstate SID) – Hitting the court at the G.B. Hodge Center for the first time during the 2023-24 season looking to work itself into the win column for the first time this season, USC Upstate men’s basketball did just that, downing Carolina University 106-48 Sunday afternoon. The Spartans’ 106 points scored against the Bruins marking the most points scored by a Big South team this season and the team’s most since scoring 103 points against Truett McConnell on Nov. 8, 2019.
Breaking the century mark, Upstate posted its largest margin of victory (+58) since Nov. 15, 2021, against St. Andrews (+53) while also posting its highest-scoring half (56 points in the second half) since dropping 57 points in the first half versus St. Andrews on Nov. 15, 2021. Leading to the team’s scoring total and margin of victory, five Spartans scored in double-figures led by a trio of players scoring 14 points each while 10 players tallied eight or more points on the afternoon.
On the defensive end, the Spartans nearly doubled their season total for turnovers forced (30) entering the game, forcing 28 Carolina miscues that led directly to 40 Upstate points. Contributing to the team’s 28 forced turnovers, Upstate swiped 19 steals—doubling its season total in the category—corralling the most steals in a single game since also collecting 19 steals versus Truett McConnell on Nov. 8, 2019.
Score: USC Upstate 106; Carolina University 48
Records: USC Upstate (1-2; 0-0 Big South); Carolina University (1-5; 0-2 NCCAA)
Location: G.B. Hodge Center | Spartanburg, S.C.
How It Happened
- Opening the game, Upstate and Carolina felt one another out as the two teams traded baskets, tied at six after the first three minutes of the game. The Bruins were the first team to make consecutive buckets, earning an 8-6 lead before the teams continued to trade the lead—four lead changes and three ties in total—with Carolina leading with 14:35 to play in the half.
- Seeing the Bruins earn their final lead of the game, the Spartans embarked on a season-long scoring run to take the lead for good. Upstate scored 21 straight points as eight Spartans scored during the run as Jalen Breazeale—in his first action of the season—led the run, scoring the first five points of the stretch.
- Snapping the scoring run, Carolina hit its second three-pointer of the half, breaking the Spartans’ scoring stretch with 8:08 to play in the half. Following five straight points from Upstate, the Bruins hit back-to-back threes with six minutes remaining in the half, the final field goals for Carolina until the final two minutes of the half.
- Closing out the half and coming off the consecutive Carolina threes, Upstate scored 13 of the final 19 points of the half to build the team’s 22-point advantage. Five Spartans combined to score the 13 points for Upstate with Nick Alves leading with five points in the stretch.
- Much like the opening of the game, the Spartans and Bruins traded baskets or free throws as the teams went back and forth with one another as neither team scored more than two points at a time for the first two-and-a-half minutes of the second period. The Spartans were the first to buck this trend in the half, seeing a Jordyn Surratt layup off the heels of a free throw from Alves and Ahmir Langlais.
- As the middle portion of the second half went along, the two teams continued to not put together long scoring runs as the game headed towards the under-eight media timeout. The Spartans, however, strung together a pair of five-point runs, growing the team’s lead to 30 points for the first time.
- Ending the stretch of neither team fashioning long scoring runs—or scoring runs in general—Upstate crafted another lengthy scoring stretch in the second half, scoring 20 straight points into the under-four media timeout. Five Spartans hit shots during the run with Miguel Ayesa and Langlais scoring six points apiece.
- Over the final four minutes of the game, Upstate outscored Carolina 11-4 to close out the game as the Spartans crossed the 100-point threshold for the first time in over three seasons. Pushing the Spartans past the century mark, Thomas Sheida scored eight of his 10 points, including a pair of threes, with Floyd Rideau Jr. collecting the remaining three points.
- Leading the Spartans to surpass the century mark for the first time in over four seasons, five Spartans scored in double-figures while 10 players scored eight or more points Four players notched career-high scoring totals—Thomas Sheida (10), Jorge Ochoa (nine), Jordyn Surratt (eight), and Eduardo Placer (two)—while five other players collected season-high scoring totals.
- Connecting on 38 of the team’s 63 field goal attempts, Upstate posted a field-goal percentage of 60.3 percent against Carolina. The field-goal percentage is the best for the program in nearly 10 years, being the first field-goal percentage greater than 60.0 percent since Jan. 11, 2014, versus Lipscomb (60.8 percent).
- Hitting 13 three-pointers Sunday, the Spartans have connected on 10 or more treys in consecutive games for the first time since the 2021-22 season—Jan. 26, 2022, against Winthrop (10) and Jan. 29, 2022, against North Carolina A&T (14). The 13 threes also extended the team’s streak of games with at least one made three-pointer to 875 games, including all 508 games played at the NCAA Division I level (2007-pres.).
Up Next for the Spartans
Coming off the team’s home opener, the Spartans begin a three-game, eight-day road trip ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The road swing begins Wednesday at East Carolina with tip-off set for 7 p.m. ET.