Auburn, Ala. (USC Upstate SID) – Mike Cunningham and Michael Buchanan each finished with 20 points on Tuesday evening as the USC Upstate men’s basketball team was edged by the Auburn Tigers 90-83 in front of 6,504 fans inside Auburn Arena.
Upstate falls to 3-4 overall while Auburn improves to 5-1 on the season.
Cunningham and Buchanan led three Spartans in double-figures as they were joined by Ramel Thompkins. Mustapha Heron had a game-high 23 points for the Tigers and was one of four players that finished in double-digit scoring.
- Auburn jumped out to an early 9-2 lead over Upstate less than two minutes into the contest. Upstate then used 3-pointers from Cunningham and Deion Holmes to spark an 8-3 run covering less than four minutes to cut its deficit to 12-10 with 14:57 remaining.
- The Tigers led by as many as 18 points, 36-18, in the first half at the 6:47 mark on a free-throw by T.J. Dunans.
- The Spartans fought back late courtesy of a 13-0 run that lasted 2:24 and trailed Auburn 36-31 with 4:23 left before intermission. Thompkins made two 3-pointers during the run with his last making it a five-point game.
- Heron’s layup with 44 seconds to go sent the Tigers into halftime leading 42-32.
- Auburn began the second half by scoring the initial seven points and led 49-32 at the 17:45 mark following a Jared Harper layup. The Tigers tied their largest lead of the game with 16:08 remaining as Danjel Purifoy’s dunk put the score at 55-37.
- Auburn led by double-figures for a majority of the second half until Upstate cut it to single-digits with 2:44 to go on a layup by Holmes. The basket saw the score go to 82-74.
- The Spartans got as close as five points three times over the final 1:28. Jure Span made it 84-79 with 1:28 left, while Buchanan recorded four consecutive points as Upstate trailed 88-83 with 33 seconds to go.
- Heron’s two free-throws with 27 seconds remaining gave the Tigers the 90-83 victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Cunningham and Buchanan combined to shoot 15-of-29 from the field for the Spartans, as Cunningham made a career-high eight field goals on 18 attempts and Buchanan was 7-for-11. Cunningham finished three points shy of tying his career-high, and Buchanan compiled his second double-double of the season and 12th of his career.
- Cunningham also had five assists, three rebounds and two steals with go along with his 20-point scoring effort.
- Buchanan and Malik Moore set new career-highs on the boards with 15 and 12 rebounds, respectively.
- Thompkins made four 3-pointers, and contributed 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
- Along with the 23 points from Heron, Auburn saw Harper (10), LaRon Smith (15) and Ronnie Johnson (10) post double-figures.
- Upstate outscored the Tigers 51-48 in the second half and led 41-37 overall in points from the bench.
- The Spartans finished the game shooting 42.1% (32-of-76).
- Upstate concludes its seven-game road trip this weekend by participating in the Holy City Hoops Classic hosted by The Citadel at McAlister Field House.
- The Spartans will play Campbell Friday at 4 p.m., The Citadel on Saturday at 12 p.m. and Colgate on Sunday at 1 p.m.