Kennesaw, Ga. (USC SID) – Yonel Brown scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Kennesaw State Owls to a 75-62 victory over the USC Upstate men’s basketball team in A-Sun play Monday evening inside the KSU Convocation Center.
Upstate falls to 8-17 on the season and 2-6 in conference play, while Kennesaw State improves to 7-17 overall and 3-5 in the league.
Michael Buchanan and Mike Cunningham both led the Spartans offensively with 14 points, and were joined in double-figures by Philip Whittington with 12 and 10 by Jure Span. Whittington and Malik Moore grabbed six rebounds each, and Span dished out a team-high five assists.
Brown was one of four Owls to finish in double-digits along with Bernard Morena (14), Aubrey Williams (14) and Kendrick Ray (13). Ray, Brown and Williams all had a game-high seven rebounds, while Morena contributed six assists.
Upstate started slowly missing its first five field goal attempts as Kennesaw State opened the game on a 9-2 run. The Owls took a seven-point lead at the 16:36 mark after a three from Nick Masterson. The Spartans would cut their deficit down to five twice over the next five minutes before Kennesaw State used back-to-back layups by Williams to go up 22-12 with 8:09 left in the first half.
Upstate answered with a 9-1 run over a stretch of 4:17 to get to within two when Whittington’s layup made the score 23-21 with 3:39 to go. Span would give the Spartans their first lead of the game, 26-25, after his three with 39 seconds remaining, but the Owls went into halftime leading 27-26 after a pair of Morena free throws with two seconds left.
Upstate took the lead back on its second possession of the second half on a put back layup by Jacob Schulte, putting the score at 28-27. Kennesaw State responded the next series with a Morena dunk and led the rest of the way. The Owls, after a layup by Schulte trimmed the lead back to one, went on an 8-0 run to lead 39-30 at the 15:28 mark capped by three-pointers from Brown and Ray. The Spartans managed to cut their deficit back to six, 47-41, after three free throws by Cunningham with 12:19 left, but would not be able to get any closer.
Kennesaw State broke the game open courtesy of a 12-0 run and took its largest lead of the game with 4:34 left when Nigel Pruitt’s dunk gave it a 69-50 lead. A three by Ramel Thompkins with two seconds remaining put the final score at 75-62.
Upstate finished the game shooting 49.0% (24-of-49) while the Owls went 30-of-64 for a 46.9% clip. The Spartans bench outscored Kennesaw State 29-17 led by the 12 points from Whittington.
Upstate returns to the Hodge Center Saturday afternoon as it hosts Lipscomb on Homecoming at 2 p.m.