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Spartans Cool Off In Second Half, Fall to Beavers

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Luke Payne finished with 43 points in three games in Alaska.

Luke Payne finished with 43 points in three games in Alaska.

Nov. 18, 2007

Box Score

FAIRBANKS, Alaska -





"We just have to get better. We have to be a family and come together as one. If we do that, we will be good."
Bobby Davis, Junior Forward


For a half, the USC Upstate men's basketball team looked poised to pick up their first victory of the season, and of the Division I era, but a cold-shooting second half did in the Spartans as Oregon State took a 65-46 victory Sunday morning in the BP Top of the World Classic in the Carlson Center.

Upstate falls to 0-4 on the year and makes the long trek home to Spartanburg. The Spartans return to the court Saturday night in Fleming Gymnasium at UNC Greensboro. Oregon State secured its first victory of the season and improves to 1-2.

Upstate gave Oregon State all it could handle in the first half, taking a lead, and the team's second lead of the season, when Luke Payne converted a layup through traffic to give the Spartans a 17-16 advantage with 9:22 to play. Upstate increased the lead to three points later in the half before settling for a 30-30 tie at halftime.

Upstate shot the ball much better than it had in the first three games of the season, shooting 12-of-28 for 43 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. Oregon State shot 46 percent from the floor in the first half.

Despite playing well in the first half, Upstate struggled in the second half. The Spartans made just 28 percent of their shots and connected on just 2-of-12 from the three-point arc. The shooting woes allowed Oregon State to grab a comfortable lead and not look back.

"Our poor offense in the second half created offense for Oregon State," said Upstate head coach Eddie Payne, who was coaching against a team he coached from 1995-2000. "We didn't execute offensively and that helped create scoring opportunities for them."

Luke Payne gave the Spartans a three-point advantage with a three-pointer coming out of the locker room and Mezie Uzochukwu's jumper kept the lead at three points with under 18 minutes to play.

Oregon State answered with an 18-2 run over the next seven minutes to open a 13-point advantage, 50-37, with 11:57 to play in the game. Back-to-back layups from Payne and Jeremy Byrd cut the deficit by four and into single digits, but Oregon State responded with six straight points to push the lead to 15 with eight minutes to play. The Spartans would only get as close as 12 the rest of the way.

"The guys didn't stay the course in executing the offense," said Eddie Payne. "You have to execute to stop a run and we didn't do that."

Oregon State came into the game shooting poorly from the outside. However, the Beavers were hot in the second half, hitting nearly 67 percent of their shots from the floor and finished the game shooting 6-of-12 from three-point land. Upstate shot just 36 percent from the floor for the game, including 28 percent from the arc.

Payne led Upstate with 17 points, three rebounds and three assists. He finished the tournament with 43 points, despite playing the better part of two and a half games with a deep thigh bruise suffered in the tournament opener against Akron.

"It's disappointing to let a possible win get away from us," said Luke Payne.

Bobby Davis turned in another solid effort, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds, narrowly missing his second straight double-double.

"We executed well in the first half," said Davis. "We were getting the ball inside on the block and were able to play the ball out. In the second half, we had no intensity, especially on defense. We just have to get better. We have to be a family and come together as one. If we do that, we will be good."

Marcel Jones led Oregon State throughout the game. He finished with a game-high 23 points. Seth Tarver added 15 for the Beavers.

 
USC Upstate Men's Basketball
 
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