Buies Creek, N.C. – Deion Holmes and Ramel Thompkins each scored 19 points to lead five Spartans in double-figures as the USC Upstate men’s basketball team defeated the Abilene Christian Wildcats 88-78 on Saturday evening during day two of the Creek Classic from Campbell’s Gore Arena.
Upstate improves to 3-4 on the season while Abilene Christian falls to 3-3 overall.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
- The Spartans had five players score 10 or more points in a game for the first time since last season against Lipscomb.
- Holmes and Thompkins each scored 19 points to lead Upstate offensively while Malik Moore added his first career double-double on 17 points and 10 rebounds.
- Mike Cunningham finished with 13 points and Isaiah Anderson went 4-for-4 from the field for a career-high 10 points.
- Jure Span dished out a season-high nine assists.
- Jaren Lewis scored a team-high 16 points for the Wildcats.
- Jaylen Franklin contributed 12 points and Jalone Friday had 10.
- Upstate finished the game shooting a season-best 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field and went 13-for-29 behind the 3-point line for a 44.8 percent clip.
- The Spartans also went 17-of-18 at the free throw line for a season-best 94.4 percent mark. It is the first time since going 12-for-12 at the charity stripe at Kennesaw State on Feb. 7, 2012 that Upstate has posted a 90 percent or better mark at the free throw line.
- The Spartans outrebounded Abilene Christian 29-28.
- Upstate also held a 19-17 advantage in points off turnovers and 31-29 in bench points.
- The neutral site contest marked the first all-time meeting between the Spartans and Wildcats.
FIRST HALF BREAKDOWN
- Upstate connected on a pair of 3-pointers from Holmes and Thompkins to take a 6-3 lead less than three minutes into the contest.
- Abilene Christian would get to within two points, 9-7, at the 15:44 mark but the Spartans answered with a 9-2 run to go in front 18-9 with 13:37 left on a layup by Anderson.
- The Wildcats cut the Upstate lead down to 18-15 two minutes later on Hayden Farquhar’s layup.
- The Spartans scored the next five points on a Holmes triple and field goal by Span to go back ahead 23-15 with 8:59 remaining.
- Abilene Christian would get as close as three points two more times with the last coming at 33-30 with 3:43 to go on a 3-pointer by Lewis.
- B.J. Maxwell’s tip-in basket at the 2:38 mark made the score 33-32 in favor of Upstate.
- The Spartans concluded the first half scoring nine of the final 14 points to lead 42-37 at halftime. Cunningham’s 3-pointer with 28 seconds left gave Upstate the five-point halftime advantage.
SECOND HALF BREAKDOWN
- The Wildcats opened the second half on a 6-0 run and took a 43-42 lead over the Spartans less than two minutes in.
- Upstate answered with an 11-2 run over the next four minutes and grabbed a 53-45 lead at the 14:09 mark on Cunningham’s layup.
- The Spartans would go up by double-digits for the first time at 58-47 with 12:56 left as Thompkins went 3-for-3 at the free throw line.
- Abilene Christian made it a 64-52 contest with 10:24 to go but Upstate came back with nine straight points and took its largest lead of the game at 73-52 two minutes later after Anderson converted a 3-point play.
- The Wildcats slowly chipped away at the Spartans lead and got to within eight points, 79-71, with 1:33 left in the game.
- Moore answered the following possession with a 3-pointer to put Upstate back ahead 82-71.
- The Spartans made six consecutive free throws to seal the victory with Holmes making the final two to give them the 88-75 lead with 11 seconds left.
- A last second triple by Abilene Christian put the final score at 88-78.
- Upstate concludes play at the Creek Classic on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. against host Campbell.