USC Upstate Holds Off Stetson, 85-83

Spartanburg, S.C. (USC Upstate SID) – Michael Buchanan recorded his fourth double-double of the season, highlighted by a career-high 14 rebounds, as the USC Upstate men’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday afternoon with an 85-83 victory over the Stetson Hatters inside the Hodge Center.

Upstate improves to 9-19 on the season and 3-8 in league play, while Stetson falls to 9-18 overall and 3-8 in the conference.

Buchanan was one of four Spartans to finish with at least 10 points for the second straight game and 11th time this season. The junior concluded the game shooting 10-of-21 from the field while adding two blocks, one assist and one steal. Deion Holmes contributed 16 points, and Josh Cuthbertson and Jacob Schulte had 10 each. Mike Cunningham dished out a game-high five assists.

Divine Myles scored a team-high 21 points for the Hatters, while Brian Pegg collected a double-double on 12 points and 14 rebounds. Derick Newton posted 18 points and Luke Doyle 11.

After trading baskets to start the game, Holmes connected on a three to give Upstate an early 7-4 lead less than two minutes into the contest. Stetson answered with an 8-3 run to go ahead 12-10 at the 15:01 mark, but Malik Moore scored five straight points to put the Spartans back in front 15-12 under a minute later.

Neither team led by more than four over the next six minutes until Schulte’s dunk with 8:53 left capped off five consecutive points for Upstate, giving it a 31-24 advantage. Tristan Thomas would push the lead out to nine, 37-28, with 6:45 remaining after his three-pointer. The Hatters finished the first half on an 8-0 run, covering a stretch of 2:07, to go into the halftime break leading 44-43. Myles’ triple with four seconds left gave Stetson the one-point lead at intermission.

The Spartans recorded the first two baskets of the second half from Buchanan and Schulte to go back up 47-44 at the 18:55 mark. The score would be tied four times over the next four minutes with the last coming at 54-54 on a pair of Cunningham free throws with 14:45 to go. Upstate led by as many as four over the next four minutes before going ahead 65-59 on a three by Holmes.

The Spartans built that lead to a game-high 10 at the 6:43 mark when Buchanan’s layup put Upstate in front 71-61. The Hatters managed to trim their deficit down to three with 1:51 left when two free throws by Newton made it 77-74. Upstate extended its lead back to seven, 85-78, at the free throw line courtesy of Buchanan, Cunningham and Jure Span.

Stetson scored the game’s final five points but fell just short as the Spartans held on for the two-point victory.

The Spartans finished the game shooting 32-of-72 (44.4%) from the field including a 7-of-15 (46.7%) mark behind the three-point line. The Hatters were 28-of-68 (41.2%) as a team but were limited to 6-of-22 (27.3%) from three.

Upstate outrebounded Stetson 51-42, while holding the advantage in points in the paint (44-38), fast break points (4-2) and bench points (24-21).

The Spartans conclude their road schedule next weekend beginning on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. against Jacksonville.

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