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Feb. 11, 2010
Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate scored 50 points in the second half, the most points it has scored in a half all year long, to erase a nine-point halftime deficit and rally past first-place Lipscomb Thursday night in A-Sun men's basketball action in the Hodge Center.
Lipscomb entered the game in a tie for first place in the A-Sun with a 10-5 mark. The Bisons also were coming off a stretch where they won four of their last five games. However, Upstate outscored Lipscomb by 16 points in the second half to take the win and improve to 5-19 overall and 5-10 in the A-Sun. Lipscomb fell to 13-12 overall and 10-6 in the league.
"That was the most complete game we played all year," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne. "We didn't turn the ball over and we made free throws, not to mention the contributions we got from everybody. We got a lot of production off the bench. It was good to get the win. It was definitely the most complete game we have played all year."
Upstate finished the game with just seven turnovers and outscored Lipscomb's bench, 29-11, for the game.
Upstate's second half was simply amazing. The Spartans connected on 13-of-25 shots from the field, including 7-of-11 from the three-point arc, and were a stout 17-of-18 from the free throw line. Upstate's defense was also strong, holding Lipscomb to 13-of-31 shooting from the field and forcing seven Bison turnovers.
Upstate began the second half by outscoring Lipscomb 15-7 to get within one, 47-46, with 15:09 to play in the game on the first of Cedric Koffi's three three-pointers. The Spartans continued to battle and trailing by one with just under 14 minutes to play, Koffi nailed a three-pointer to give the Spartans their first lead since the 16:53 mark of the first half.
Adnan Hodzic answered for Lipscomb to tie the game for the fourth time, but Josh Chavis put Upstate ahead with a three-pointer. The lead stretched to seven points on Koffi's third three-pointer of the half to give the Spartans a 62-55 lead with 10:18 to play.
Upstate grabbed its largest lead of the night, 66-58, on a pair of free throws from Carter Cook with 7:56 to play in the game. Lipscomb, though, was not done. The Bisons scored the next five points to cut Upstate's lead to three with 5:21 remaining and the lead stayed at three with 4:01 to play.
However, Chalmers Rogers sank a three-pointer, his third of the game, with 3:35 to play to give Upstate a six-point advantage and the Bisons never threatened again. Rogers hit one three-pointer in the first half and two in the second. He tied a career-high with nine points.
"Chalmers is playing with a lot more confidence on the floor," said Payne. "He gave us some really good contributions tonight and made some plays for us."
Lipscomb was solid in the first half of play. Leading by two with 9:38 to play in the half, the Bisons used an 11-3 run to open a 10-point lead with under seven minutes to play. They increased the lead to 14 points with 1:30 to play before the break. Cook single-handedly cut the Lipscomb lead to single digits with a layup and a three-pointer as Upstate went into the intermission down 40-31.
Upstate shot 48 percent from the field for the game and connected on a strong 10-of-21 shots from the three-point arc. Upstate was also 17-of-19 from the free throw line. Lipscomb finished the game 42 percent from the floor and connected on 9-of-24 from the arc.
Mezie Uzochukwu turned in another workman-like performance and led Upstate in scoring and rebounding with 13 points and eight rebounds. Cook finished with 12 points, while Koffi added 11 points and four assists. Pat Posey was the fourth Spartan to finish in double figures with 10 points. Nick Schneiders totaled eight points, six rebounds and five blocked shots.
Despite a solid defensive effort by the Upstate post players, Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic led all scorers in the game with 22 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Jordan Burgason finished with 18 points, while Josh Slater had a solid all-around game with 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists.