Spartanburg, S.C. (USC Upstate SID) – Seniors Michael Buchanan and Josh Cuthbertson, playing in their final regular season home games, each scored over 20 points on Saturday afternoon as the USC Upstate men’s basketball team forced overtime with the FGCU Eagles, but fell 97-89 on Senior Day inside the G.B. Hodge Center.
Upstate falls to 17-13 overall and 7-6 in the ASUN, while FGCU improves to 22-7 on the season and 11-2 in conference play.
Buchanan compiled his 21st career double-double on a season-high 29 points to go with 13 rebounds, and Cuthbertson tied his career-high with 22 points. Philip Whittington came off the bench and fell just shy of a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Mike Cunningham contributed 11 points.
Brandon Goodwin tied Buchanan with a game-high 29 points and was one of five Eagles to score in double-figures. Christian Terrell added 18 points, while Demetris Morant posted 14 and Marc-Eddy Norelia and Rayjon Tucker had 10 each.
- FGCU opened the game on a 9-2 run and took a seven-point lead less than three minutes in on a layup by Goodwin.
- Norelia later extended the Eagles lead out to 12 points, 16-4, with 14:23 remaining on his layup.
- The Spartans were able to cut their deficit down to 10 points twice over the next two minutes with the last coming at the 12:13 mark when a layup by Buchanan made the score 17-7.
- FGCU took a 20-point lead, 29-9, with 8:30 left when Norelia connected on a free throw.
- The Eagles took their largest lead of the game with 4:35 left in the first half when a 3-pointer by Tucker extended the advantage to 37-17.
- Upstate cut its deficit down to 43-27 with 11 seconds left on Buchanan’s layup, and trailed by 16 points at halftime.
- FGCU tied its largest lead of the game less than two minutes into the second half after a dunk by Morant gave it a 48-27 lead with 18:51 left.
- Buchanan and Cunningham combined to score the next 13 points for Upstate as it held the Eagles scoreless for a stretch of 3:14. A layup by Buchanan with 16:00 remaining trimmed the FGCU lead to 50-40.
- The Eagles managed to extend their lead back to 17 points when a 3-pointer from Reggie Reid with 12:00 left made the score 63-46.
- Whittington scored six points over the course of nearly two minutes and Cuthbertson got the Spartans to within five points, 63-58, at the 8:45 mark with a 3-pointer. Cuthbertson scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half.
- Whittington trimmed Upstate’s deficit down to 67-65 with 6:32 remaining with his layup, but FGCU answered to push its lead back to seven points twice over a seven-minute period.
- Goodwin gave the Eagles a 78-71 lead with 1:38 left after making two free throws.
- The Spartans ended regulation on an 8-1 run as Cuthbertson scored six of those points including the game-tying basket as time expired. His last-second field goal put the score at 79-79 heading into overtime.
- The score was tied twice over the first 1:31 of overtime as Buchanan evened things at 83-83 with his layup.
- Upstate would be limited to six points after that as FGCU sealed the win at the charity stripe. The Eagles went 8-for-8 at the free throw line over the final 32 seconds for the eight-point victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Cuthbertson set a new career-high with nine made field goals in the contest while Buchanan concluded the game shooting 13-of-18 from the field.
- Whittington was 6-of-10 shooting overall, and Cunningham led the team with four assists and three steals.
- Cunningham also tied his career-high in minutes played after logging 41 minutes of action.
- Antravious Simmons pulled down a team-high nine rebounds for FGCU and Johnson collected four assists.
- The Spartans finished the game shooting 46.8 percent (36-of-77) and held a 44-43 advantage in rebounds.
- Upstate also led 48-40 in points in the paint, 16-10 in second chance points and 21-19 in bench points.
- The score was tied three times in the contest.
- The Spartans close out their regular season on Thursday, Feb. 23 on the road at NJIT with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.