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Jan. 31, 2010
Spartanburg, S.C. - After USC Upstate cut the lead to one midway through the first half, Jacksonville used a 23-6 spurt to open an 18-point lead and never let the Spartans back in the game as the Dolphins took a 79-63 victory Sunday afternoon in A-Sun men's basketball action in the Hodge Center.
Jacksonville improved to 13-8 overall and 9-3 in the A-Sun with the win. The Dolphins remained atop the league standings with its 10th-straight victory. Upstate fell to 3-18 overall and 3-9 in the league with the loss.
"Our ball-handling let us down," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "Our guards had 15 turnovers and made some very poor decisions. Pat (Posey) had a real nice game. We got to the free throw line 36 times and when you do that, you feel like you can do some good things. Once again, we came out without the energy you need to start the game. We tried to crawl back in it the whole game.
"We didn't control tempo very well early. They don't shoot a lot of three's, so we needed to make them use the shot clock. But, we didn't do that and we had too many mistakes when we had the ball, especially in the first half."
Jacksonville turned in quite a first half, 20 minutes that spelled the difference in the game. The Dolphins shot 58 percent from the field, made 4-of-7 from the three-point arc and forced Upstate into 16 turnovers to take a 16-point lead at halftime.
But, it was the 23-6 Jacksonville spurt that began midway through the first half that was the deciding blow in the game.
Jacksonville scored the game's first nine points but watched as Upstate methodically whittled away at the lead to get within one, 17-16, with 11:57 to play in the first half. That's when the Dolphins began a run to effectively put the game away.
Jacksonville used an 8-0 run to open a 25-16 lead with 9:26 to play before halftime and took its first double digit lead, 30-18, on Tevin Galvin's three-pointer with 7:15 to play. The Dolphins went on to open a 40-22 lead with 4:01 to play in the half.
Upstate managed to get within 14 with 1:44 to go in the half, but Galvin's layup gave the Dolphins a 16-point advantage heading into the locker room.
While Jacksonville shot the ball well in the first half, Upstate did not. The Spartans hit just 38 percent of its shots from the field and was just 2-of-7 from the three-point arc.
Upstate played well in the second half, but was never really able to put a dent in the Jacksonville lead. After the Jacksonville lead grew to 21 points, the Spartans managed to cut the deficit to 13 on two occasions. But each time Upstate tried to get the deficit to single digits, Jacksonville countered.
Jacksonville's guard play made the difference on both ends of the court. The Dolphins' full court press made it difficult on Upstate throughout the day and was a key in Upstate turning the ball over 25 times. The turnovers resulted in 31 points off turnovers for Jacksonville.
Jacksonville led Upstate in every hustle stat category. In addition to the 31-10 lead in points off turnovers, the Dolphins owned a dominant 44-16 lead in points in the paint, 14-5 edge in second chance points, 14-0 advantage in fast break points and a 22-13 lead in bench scoring.
Ben Smith led Jacksonville with 23 points. He was 6-of-12 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Lehmon Colbert added 12 points and six rebounds, while Travis Cohn tallied 10 points. The Dolphins finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field and were 5-of-9 from the three-point arc. They also converted 14-of-18 from the free throw line.
Ryan LeGates was simply solid for Upstate in the game. He finished with a career-high 17 points. Pat Posey turned in his third solid outing against Jacksonville, finishing with a team-high 18 points and six rebounds. Carter Cook added 11 points and five boards. The Spartans shot 38 percent from the field and 27 percent from the three-point arc. Upstate did a solid job from the line, converting 25-of-36 attempts from the charity stripe.