GAME NOTES: The USC Upstate Spartans will try to claim their first victory on the year when they battle the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at Carolina First Arena as part of the Charleston Classic.
The Chants were no match for Georgetown in the first round of this tournament, as the Hoyas pummeled Coastal Carolina, 80-61. It was the second straight loss for the Chants, who opened the year with two straight wins.
As for the Spartans, they are winless in three games this year. Coach Eddie Payne's bunch was clobbered by Wofford, 79-61 on Thursday, and have now been outscored by double figures in each of their three setbacks.
These two programs have battled 28 times on the hardwood, but this is the first meeting between the two schools in nearly 25 years. USC Upstate won the last matchup 67-59, but the Chants still own a 16-12 edge in the all-time series.
The Chants were definitely in an uphill battle on Thursday, as they were pitted against the 20th-ranked Georgetown Hoyas. While the Chants held their own offensively, coach Cliff Ellis' team had no answers for Georgetown's overpowering performance offensively. The Hoyas shot 56.1 percent against CCU, and also connected on 14 three-point attempts. Clearly the Hoyas were too tough, but the Chants did manage to shoot a respectable 46.7 percent from the field, and were led by Kierre Greenwood's 16-point effort. Greenwood, who is averaging 11.0 ppg, was not alone in the loss, as Desmond Holloway contributed 13 points. Through four games, Holloway has been the most consistent player for coach Ellis, as the guard is producing 17.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg.
It has been a nightmare for coach Payne early in this season, as his team continues to struggle offensively. In the recent loss to Wofford, the Spartans shot a woeful 31.1 percent from the floor, and connected on just 15-of-27 attempts from the foul line. Through three games the Spartans are shooting a miserable 31.4 percent from the field, and an equally poor 58.3 percent from the charity stripe. In the loss to Wofford on Thursday, Craig Torrey was the only player in double-figures for USC Upstate, as the guard posted 13 points, to go along with seven rebounds. Tony Dukes, who was the top player for coach Payne through the first two games, struggled in the loss to Wofford, and his problems were largely do to his foul trouble. Dukes only played 19 minutes for USC Upstate, and finished the game with six points on 2-of-7 shooting.
The Spartans have been unable to put forth a respectable effort offensively, and until they do so, look for them to continue to lose. Coastal Carolina has issues of its own, but the Chants should be able to snap their small two-game slide.