Men's Hoops Looks to Rebound at USC Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Mercer University’s men’s basketball team will try to return to its winning ways on Monday evening at USC Upstate (7:30 p.m.). The Bears (11-7, 3-2 A-Sun) had a three-game win streak snapped last Saturday at East Tennessee State.
MU struggled at ETSU and found itself facing a double-digit deficit for most of the game. While the Bears did commit 21 turnovers, it was more a case of a red-hot shooting night by the Buccaneers. ETSU hit 64 percent of its field goals in the first half, before settling on 52 percent for the game.
Senior Justin Cecil – who led the Bears with 17 points versus ETSU – took over the team’s scoring lead at 11.5 points per game, while shooting a nifty 44.9 percent from the field. He is also hitting 40 percent (42-105) from beyond the arc.
Langston Hall and Jakob Gollon average 10.6 and 10.2 points per contest, respectively. Gollon also leads the Bears’ rebounding efforts at 5.9 boards per game.
MU’s Shaquille Harris had his best outing as a Bear at ETSU, tallying 12 points and four steals in just 12 minutes on the floor.
This will be the 8th meeting between USC Upstate and Mercer. The Bears hold a 5-2 advantage in the series versus the Spartans.
Mercer has won the last four meetings between the teams, including both of last season’s games (70-59 in Macon and 65-53 in Spartanburg).
Upstate’s last win versus Mercer came on Feb. 26, 2009 in Spartanburg, S.C. (93-90 in OT).
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE:
USC Upstate is off to a 9-7 record overall in 2011-12 and a 3-1 start in Atlantic Sun Conference play. The Spartans’ lone loss in the A-Sun was to East Tennessee State University.
Torrey Craig - a 2011-12 pre-season All-A-Sun selection - leads the Spartans in scoring at 18.0 points per game and also in rebounding at 7.4 boards per game. Craig’s scoring average also tops the A-Sun, while his rebound total is second-best in the league. He averages 2.6 three-point field goals made per game, as well.
Ty Greene is the only other Upstate player averaging in double figures at 10.6 p.p.g.
Ricardo Glenn is second to Craig in rebounding with 5.8 caroms per contest. Glenn has also delivered 8.6 p.p.g. on offense. Adrian Rodgers is close behind at 8.3 p.p.g.
The Spartans have the third-best offense in the A-Sun at 72.8 points per game. Upstate also allows 70.1 p.p.g. on defense.
In the Spartans’ last game, Craig almost single-handedly torched Kennesaw State University with 28 points in USC Upstate’s 68-53 win over the Owls. Craig had a double-double by also pulling down 10 rebounds. He hit 10-of-12 shots from the floor.
Greene had 10 points and passed off for seven assists. Jodd Maxey came off the Spartans’ bench to tally 14 points and haul in eight rebounds.
- With a capacity of 818, USC Upstate’s G.B. Hodge Center would be the second-smallest seating capacity of any NCAA Division I arena. (Charleston Southern is the smallest at 789).
- MU leads the series versus USC Upstate, 5-2, but both of the Bears’ losses in the series have come in Spartanburg, S.C., in back-to-back seasons: Feb. 3, 2008 (75-49) & Feb. 26, 2009 (93-90 in OT).
- Upstate’s 26 point win in the first-ever meeting between the teams in 2007-08 is the largest margin in the series. MU’s best margin of victory was 14 points (83-69) in 2009-10 in Macon.
- ETSU’s 29 point lead over Mercer in the second half of their Jan. 7 meeting was the Bears’ biggest deficit in any game this season. Previously, MU’s biggest ‘hole’ was 22 points versus nationally-ranked Missouri.