Spartanburg, S.C. – Ramel Thompkins and Josh Cuthbertson each recorded double-doubles on Monday evening as the USC Upstate men’s basketball team opened the home portion of its schedule with a 91-66 victory over the Mars Hill Lions inside the Hodge Center.
Upstate improves to 1-1 on the season while Mars Hill falls to 1-2 overall.
Deion Holmes led the Spartans offensively with 21 points off the bench and was one of five players to finish in double-figures. Thompkins and Cuthbertson collected the first double-doubles of their career, while Cuthbertson fell three rebounds shy of a triple-double.
· Upstate opened the game on a 12-0 run that covered the first 2:47 as Cuthbertson, Thompkins, Malik Moore and Carson Smith all connected on field goals. Smith had four of the 12 points during that stretch.
· After the Lions cut the Spartans lead down to 14-6 with just over 15 minutes left in the half, the Spartans would break the game open with a 16-4 run covering nearly eight minutes and pushing their lead to 30-10. A 3-pointer by Holmes at the 3:28 mark increased Upstate’s lead out to 45-16.
· Thompkins gave the Spartans their largest lead of the first half when his 3-pointer made the score 57-24 with 31 seconds remaining. Upstate led by 33 at intermission.
· The Spartans took their largest lead of the game on their first possession of the second half when Smith made it 59-24 following his jumper less than a minute in.
· Upstate led by at least 30 points for a majority of the second half as it held an 81-50 advantage with 9:46 left on a 3-point play by Holmes.
· Mars Hill held the Spartans scoreless over the next 5:42 as it used a 9-0 run, including five points from Vernon Jackson, to trim its deficit down to 81-61 as the contest approached the four-minute mark.
· Mike Cunningham hit a pair of 3-pointer’s over the final 4:04 as Upstate outscored the Lions 10-5 down the stretch. His final triple with 55 seconds left put the final score at 91-66.
BY THE NUMBERS
· The Spartans improved to 10-5 all-time against Mars Hill and marked their first win in the Division I era over the program from the South Atlantic Conference.
· Upstate had five players score 10 or more points for the first time since Feb. 18, 2016 during a conference road game at Jacksonville.
· Along with Holmes, Thompkins and Cuthbertson, the Spartans also saw Moore score 13 points and Cunningham added 12.
· Michael Buchanan pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with the game-high 13 from Thompkins, and gave Upstate two players with double-digit rebounds in a game for the first time since Jan. 10, 2015 at Kennesaw State. In that game, Buchanan (10) and ShunQuez Stephens (11) each grabbed 10 or more rebounds.
· Thompkins finished the game with a career-high 16 points while tying his career-best of 13 rebounds. The junior also set a new career-high of four made 3-pointers while equaling his career-high of six field goals made.
· Cuthbertson dished out a career-high 10 assists to go with his 10 points and seven rebounds. The senior is the first Spartan to have 10 or more assists since Jure Span had 11 against The Citadel last season. The 10 assists are the third-most in a game by an Upstate player in the Division I era.
· Making his first career start as a Spartan, Smith collected eight points on 4-of-5 shooting.
· Jackson had a game-high 22 points for the Lions while Luke Van-Rijn added 18 points on five 3-pointers.
· Upstate finished the game shooting 45.8% (33-of-72) as a team highlighted by a 55.3% (21-for-38) mark in the first half.
· The Spartans had eight blocks in the game and out-rebounded Mars Hill 55-38.
· Upstate continues its homestand on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. against UNC Asheville.