USC Upstate Upsets South Carolina Men's Basketball

USC Upstate Men's College Basketball, Ricardo Glenn

USC Upstate Upsets South Carolina Men's Basketball

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- All eyes were on star USC Upstate forward Torrey Craig to see how he would perform on a big stage. While the focus was on Craig, another star emerged.

Spartan forward Ricardo Glenn notched a double-double, pouring in 21 points and pulling down 14 rebounds to lead his club to a 74-68 victory over South Carolina in front of 7,531 fans at Colonial Life Arena on Thursday afternoon.

The day didn’t start on a promising note for the Spartans, as they made just four of their first 22 shots in the game. South Carolina led by as many as 17 points in that first half, taking a 33-16 lead on a Mindaugas Kacinas free throw after a 30-second Spartan timeout with 4:51 remaining in the half. 

That timeout turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for USC Upstate. The Spartans did not miss again for the remainder of the half, draining all seven of their shots in a 17-4 run to cut the South Carolina lead to 37-33 at halftime. Upstate hit just three of their 13 shots from behind the three-point arc in the first half, and all three of those made shots came in that final 4:51.

The teams started a bit slowly in the second 20 minutes, going nearly two scoreless minutes before a Bruce Ellington three-pointer gave the homestanding Gamecocks a seven-point lead at 40-33. South Carolina extended their lead to eight on two free throws from Tyrone Johnson with 15:38 remaining.

From there, the Spartans awoke.

Upstate guard Ty Greene shook off his 0-for-5 first half (all from distance) to drain a three-pointer that cut the lead to five. The teams traded shots for the next several minutes, with South Carolina taking a slim 45-44 lead to the under-12 media timeout with 11:29 to play in the game. Brenton Williams missed a three pointer for South Carolina as play resumed, which Upstate quickly converted into their first lead of the contest on a ShunQuez Stephens layup.

After South Carolina pushed the lead back to 49-46, Upstate went on a 15-5 run, topped off by a dunk from Craig. Upstate’s lead was cut to just three at 61-58 when the final media timeout occurred with 3:31 to play. Two Glenn free throws extended the lead to five, followed by an Ellington three-pointer that shaved the Spartan lead to just two with just over three minutes remaining. 

A Greene three-pointer extended his team’s lead to 66-61, with a Sindarius Thornwell layup and two free throws by Johnson slicing the advantage to 66-65. South Carolina could never regain the lead however, going one-for-five from three-point range over the final 1:21 as Upstate closed the door on the Gamecocks.

Glenn led his team in points (21), rebounds (14) and assists (five). Three fellow Spartans joined him in double figures. Craig scored 13 for Upstate, while Greene and reserve guard Fred Miller added ten apiece. Freshman Sindarius Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 19 points. Johnson was the only other Gamecock in double figures, scoring 11 points and securing four rebounds. 

The game was USC Upstate’s second against an SEC opponent this season. Tennessee defeated the Spartans 74-65 in Knoxville on November 16th. This was also Upstate’s first-ever victory against a Southeastern Conference foe. USC Upstate did not become a full NCAA Division I member until August 2011.

USC Upstate (6-5) will next take the floor when visiting Charlotte in Halton Arena at 7:00pm Eastern on Saturday. South Carolina (2-5) will travel to Hawaii to participate in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic and will face off against St. Mary’s at 11:00pm Eastern on Sunday.