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Jan. 19, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - USC Upstate fell victim to three key Belmont runs and hot-shooting by the Bruins to start the second half as Belmont took a 76-52 victory Saturday night in the Curb Event Center.
Upstate fell to 3-16 overall and 1-4 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Belmont improved to 12-7 overall and 4-1 in the league. Upstate travels to Jacksonville, Fla., Friday to take on North Florida.
Belmont used an 11-2 run to break a 26-26 tie and open a nine-point advantage, 37-28, at halftime. The Bruins nailed four three-pointers to open the second half to open a 17-point lead with 17:08 to play in the game. After Upstate cut the lead to nine, Belmont used another big run to put the game away, building a 24-point lead with 5:25 remaining.
In the first half, the game swayed back and forth with both teams gaining and then giving up momentum until Belmont made a crucial run to close the half.
With the game tied at 26-26 at the 4:41 mark of the first half, Belmont held Upstate to just one field goal the rest of the way. The Bruins closed out the half by outscoring the Spartans 11-2 to open a 37-28 lead at the intermission.
"It was 26-26 at the under 4:00 media timeout and we had breakdowns in our transition defense and didn't rebound out of the zone," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "That translated to a nine-point halftime deficit."
Jordan Campbell led the way for Belmont, finishing the half with 10 points. Campbell entered the game averaging 7.2 points per game. Upstate was paced by Jeremy Byrd's 10 points to keep the Spartans in the game.
Belmont grabbed eight offensive rebounds and forced Upstate into eight turnovers. The Bruins scored 13 second chance points and another 13 points off of turnovers, accounting for 26 of their 37 first half points.
Belmont opened the second half hitting four straight three-pointers, pushing the lead to 17 points early in the half. Upstate battled back with an 8-1 run to cut the deficit to single digits, 50-41, with 13:43 to play.
Belmont, though, went on another run to put the game away. The Bruins increased their lead to 14 points with 12:06 to play. Bobby Davis converted a layup with 11:09 remaining to get the Spartans within 12. It would be the final field goal the Spartans would make until Josh Chavis nailed a three-pointer with three seconds left in the game. Belmont used Upstate's cold shooting to extend the lead to as many as 27 points, cruising to the win.
"We knew it was going to be a very difficult matchup for our team," said Payne. "It was that and more. We didn't have the patience to work for good shots against a good team."
Belmont hit 7-of-15 three-pointers in the second half alone and finished the game 11-for-31 from downtown. The Bruins forced Upstate into just 13 turnovers, but scored 16 points off of Spartan miscues. Belmont out-rebounded Upstate 51-33 for the game, including pulling down 17 on the offensive glass. The Bruins scored 16 second chance points.
Byrd led Upstate with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals. However, the senior guard did commit four turnovers. Luke Payne added a solid 11 for the Spartans.
Shane Dansby led a balanced Belmont attack with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Campbell finished with 11 points, while Matthew Dotson and Andy Wicke each added nine.