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Jan. 17, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In USC Upstate's first overtime game of the season, and the Division I era, Gabor Boros' jumper at the buzzer fell just short as Lipscomb held on for a 76-74 victory at Allen Arena Thursday night.
Upstate fell to 3-15 overall and 1-3 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Lipscomb improved to 8-10 overall and 2-2 in the A-Sun.
In overtime, Lipscomb scored first on Adnan Hodzic's layup. Jeremy Byrd answered with four straight points to give Upstate a 70-68 lead with 2:20 to play. Hodzic tied the game at 70-70 and Josh Slater's old fashion three-point play gave Lipscomb 73-70 lead with 1:26.
Payne hit a difficult running jumper to get Upstate within one, 73-72, with 59 seconds to play. Payne came up with a steal and finished off the fast break with a basket to give Upstate a 74-73 lead with 23 seconds to play. Eddie Ard sank a three-pointer with eight seconds to play to push Lipscomb ahead, 76-74. Byrd's layup was blocked out of bounds by Ard with 1.5 seconds to play, setting up the last second shot for the Spartans.
"I feel very bad for our players," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "I thought we deserved better. We did a number of things to put us in position to win the game and we just didn't get it done. Every time something happened, our kids showed character and fought back. We were just one or two plays away."
Ard finished the game with 24 points to lead all scorers. Brandon Brown, Hodzic and Slater each added 13 for Lipscomb. Payne led Upstate with 19 points. Bobby Davis and Byrd each added 14, while Mezie Uzochukwu added 12.
Upstate started the game rusty, falling behind 8-1 just over three minutes into the game. Gabor Boros nailed a three-pointer to give the Spartans their first field goal of the night at the 16:34 mark of the half to cut the Lipscomb lead to 8-4.
Upstate found its legs and used an 8-2 run to get within one, 10-9, with 14:46 to play. However, the Spartans went scoreless for the next four minutes to allow Lipscomb to open a 16-9 lead with 12:03 to play.
Upstate battled back, getting within 18-16 with 9:32 to play. Foul trouble, though, began to catch up with the Spartans. Byrd was relegated to the bench after picking up his second foul just 2:19 in to the game, Nick Schneiders picked up his third foul with 10:05 to play in the half, and Davis picked up his second foul with 8:33 to play.
The Bisons hit four straight three-pointers, two by Ard, to account for all four Lipscomb field goals from the 7:55 mark to the 3:19 mark of the half, allowing Lipscomb to hold onto a six-point advantage with under three minutes to play.
Upstate again battled back, using a three-pointer by Payne and back-to-back buckets from Davis to get within two, 32-30, with 2:02 to play. Brown nailed a three-pointer with 26 seconds to play to give Lipscomb a 35-30 lead at the half.
Both teams struggled coming out in the second half. Upstate made just two field goals in the first eight seven minutes, but was able to cut into the Lipscomb deficit. The Bisons made just one field goal in the first seven minutes, allowing the Spartans to get within two, 37-35, with 13:14 to play.
Lipscomb caught fire and exploded for eight unanswered points to open a 10-point lead, 45-35, with 11:50 to play. Keyed by Payne's three-pointer and old fashion three-point play in consecutive possessions, Upstate scored 13 straight points to fight all the way back to open a 48-45 lead with 8:21 to play.
Upstate held a 52-50 lead with 5:41 to play in the game when the teams began to trade shots. Lipscomb opened a 58-55 lead with 4:03 to play. The lead remained three when Brown nailed an open 13-foot jumper to give the Bisons a five-point lead, 64-59, with 1:31 to play.
Upstate answered when Uzochukwu converted a layup and was fouled. He converted the free throw to get the Spartans within two, 64-62, with 31.8 seconds to play. Ard was fouled and made 1-of-2 with 26 seconds to play to give Lipscomb a 65-62 lead. Payne answered for Upstate, converting a layup with 16.7 seconds to go to get the Spartans within one, 65-64.
Hodzic made 1-of-2 free throws to give Lipscomb a 66-64 lead with nine seconds to play. Byrd answered by driving the length of the court and converting the layup to tie the game at 66-66 with four seconds to play, sending the game into overtime.
"We just tried to keep making plays," said Luke Payne. "We weren't going to give up. We can build on this like we have the others (losses). But, we knew we had a chance to win this one and we let it get away."