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Upstate Begins Final Road Swing Thursday Night At FGCU

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Cedric Koffi and the Spartans look to ground the Eagles Thursday night.

Cedric Koffi and the Spartans look to ground the Eagles Thursday night.

Feb. 24, 2010

Game Notes | ASun.TV | Live Audio | Live Stats

Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate begins its final road swing of the season to close out 2009-10 when it travels to Ft. Myers, Fla., for a 7:05 p.m. tip-off at Florida Gulf Coast. The Spartans enter the game with a 5-22 overall record and an 8-20 mark in the A-Sun. Upstate dropped a close 63-56 decision at ETSU on Sunday. The Spartans will face an FGCU squad that is also in its third year of its transition to Division I. The Eagles enter the game with an 8-20 overall record and a 5-14 mark in the A-Sun. After dropping seven straight games, FGCU took an 85-80 victory over Belmont last Saturday. FGCU leads the series, 3-1, including an 86-82 victory over Upstate on Dec. 14 in Spartanburg.

Fans not in attendance at the game can watch the action live online for a fee at www.ASun.tv. Fans can listen to the action live online for free at www.upstatespartans.com, the official Upstate Athletics Web site, while receiving live statistical updates at www.fgcuathletics.com, the official FGCU Athletics Web site.

Looking Back At ETSU
Upstate built an 18-point lead in the first half and looked to be in control of the game, but ETSU countered to cut the lead to eight at halftime and rallied to take a 63-56 victory last Sunday in Johnson City. The Spartans opened the game on a 13-1 run and Chalmers Rogers' three-pointer gave Upstate a 37-19 lead with 3:09 to play before halftime. However, ETSU closed out the half on a 10-0 run to cut the lead to eight. Upstate increased the lead to 13 points in the early stages of the second half, but ETSU rallied and Justin Tubbs' three-pointer gave the Buccaneers their first lead of the game with 1:50 to play. ETSU scored the game's final seven points to take the win. Nick Schneiders had another strong game as his college career winds down, finishing with 22 points and five rebounds to lead the Upstate attack. He was the only Spartan to reach double figures. ETSU placed four players in double figures.

Scouting FGCU
Florida Gulf Coast enters Thursday night's game against Upstate with an 8-20 overall record and a 5-14 mark in the A-Sun. The Eagles snapped a seven-game losing streak by taking down Belmont, 85-80, last Saturday.

FGCU opened the season 0-6, losing non-conference games to Michigan, Prairie View A&M, SMU, Miami, East Carolina and Longwood before winning four straight. Included in the four-game winning streak was the 86-82 victory over Upstate in Spartanburg. The Eagles claimed non-conference wins over Florida International, N.C. Central and DePaul.

FGCU started the A-Sun season with a 2-1 record, but a six-game losing streak dropped the Eagles to 2-6. A brief two-game winning streak got FGCU to 4-6, but the Eagles went on to lose seven in a row before the Belmont win.

FGCU averages 65 points a game and allows opponents to shoot at a 72 ppg clip. The Eagles shoot 42 percent from the field, 31 percent from the three-point arc and 65 percent from the free throw line. Opponents shoot 45 percent from the field and 36 percent from the three-point arc.

FGCU has two players who average in double figures for the year. Anthony Banks leads the way while averaging 13.2 points per game. He also tops the club with 6.6 rebounds per outing. Those figures increase to 14.1 ppg and 7.0 rpg in league play. Reed Baker ranks second on the team in scoring at 11.4 ppg. He increases that total to 11.8 ppg against A-Sun competition.

Dave Balza is in his 8th season at the helm of the FGCU program. He started the program in 2002 and owns a 143-100 record at the school. FGCU is his second head coaching stint, serving as head coach at St. Joseph's College from 1998-01. In 11 seasons in the first chair, he owns a 178-158 career record with two conference Coach of the Year honors (Great Lakes Valley Conference, DII) and one appearance in the NCAA DII National Tournament (FGCU, 2005). He is a 1991 graduate of Michigan and was a member of the staff when the Wolverines won the 1989 National Championship.

Recalling The First Meeting
When Upstate and FCGU tip off Thursday night, it will have been 63 days since the teams met in Spartanburg on Dec. 14. A lot has happened to both teams since then. However, the fans in attendance in the Hodge Center that night were treated to a great game as FGCU held off Upstate for an 86-82 victory. Josh Chavis hit a school record 10 three-pointers and set a Division I school record with 34 points, but it was not enough as FGCU got a pair of strong outings from Reed Baker and Anthony Banks to take the win. Baker finished with 27 points, while Banks added 21 in the win.

Schneiders Named Academic All-American
Nick Schneiders has garnered a tremendous amount of attention and received several honors throughout his time at Upstate. However, nothing has equaled what he achieved Monday night when he was named an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American. The senior from Rietberg, Germany, was a first team Academic All-District selection and earned second team Academic All-America honors Monday. He carries a 3.7 GPA as a graphic design major. He is the only A-Sun basketball player, male or female, to earn Academic All-America honors this season and is the sixth Academic All-America pick in the history of the athletics program at Upstate.

LeGates Solid As Spartans Close Out Season
Freshman guard Ryan LeGates has both settled into his role as a starter for the Spartans. He has played both the point and shooting guard spots. He has played well in the last half of the season, averaging 10.9 points per game over the last eight games.

Schneiders Tops Own Season Blocks Record
With five blocks against Belmont on Feb. 13, Nick Schneiders broke his own single-season school record for blocked shots. He now has 85 on the season with three games remaining. The 85 blocks surpassed the 79 he swatted last season. In addition, the senior has topped the 200-block plateau and now has 202 in his career.

Schneiders Tops The A-Sun, Ranks Nationally In Blocks
No doubt about it, Nick Schneiders is the main shot-blocking threat for Upstate. He leads Upstate, and the A-Sun, with 85 blocks on the year, averaging 3.3 per game. That figure puts him 11th in the nation. Caleb Palkert is second on the team and ranks 11th in the A-Sun with 20 blocks, while Chalmers Rogers has swatted 10.

Racking Up Win No. 650
Not only did Upstate take down the top team in the A-Sun in Lipscomb on Feb. 11, the Spartans secured win No. 650 in the program's history.

Payne Approaching 375
When Upstate records its next victory, Spartans head coach Eddie Payne will secure his 375th coaching victory. In his 25th year on the sidelines, Payne's next incremental milestone after win No. 375 is his 400th coaching victory.

Rogers, Koffi Stroke It From Downtown
In Upstate's 81-74 victory over Lipscomb on Feb. 11, an unlikely tandem delivered six three-pointers to lead the Spartans to the victory. Chalmers Rogers, a post player for Upstate, and Cedric Koffi, a backup guard, each sank three three-pointers in the win. Rogers, who entered the game having made just three treys all season, was a perfect 3-for-3 behind the arc. Koffi finished the game 3-for-5.

Spartans Earn First A-Sun Sweep
Upstate pulled off something on Feb. 6 that has not been done since the Spartans moved to the A-Sun in 2007, a season sweep of an A-Sun foe. With the 68-64 victory over Kennesaw State and the 66-62 overtime win over the Owls in Spartanburg on Jan. 17, Upstate swept the season series from KSU.

Chavis' Record-Setting Night
Oh what a night, a great song made popular by The Four Seasons. But on Monday, Dec. 14, it stood for Josh Chavis' performance as the junior point guard did everything he could to try to get a win for the Spartans. He sank a single-game school record 10 three-pointers en route to scoring a career-high and school Division I single-game record 34 points against Florida Gulf Coast. The 10 three-pointers is the fourth-most by a Division I player this year and the most by a player who failed to make a 2-point basket in the same game. He played 37 minutes for Upstate in the game, missing just over a minute in the second half. For his efforts, Chavis was highlighted on ESPN.com's Inside the Boxscores section of their Web site as one of five noteworthy accomplishments in all of Division I college basketball.

Monumental Night All Around
Several Upstate players achieved individual honors in Upstate's 86-82 loss against Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 14. As noted above, Josh Chavis broke the school's single-game 3-point record with 10 en route to scoring a career-high and program Division I-best 34 points. But, he was not alone. Nick Schneiders tied his own single-game school record with seven blocked shots and moved into sole possession of the all-time record at Upstate. Carter Cook scored 13 of Upstate's final 17 points to help lead Upstate to within two points of the lead late in the game, finishing with a career-high 16 points. Caleb Palkert grabbed a career-high five rebounds, while Pat Posey finished with a career-high eight rebounds and four assists.

Torching The Nets
For the second time in three games, Upstate scorched the nets in the Hodge Center. On Dec. 14 against Florida Gulf Coast, the Spartans hit 13-of-25 shots from behind the 3-point arc, led by Josh Chavis' record-setting 10-for-14 performance. Upstate also shot 72 percent from the free throw line. Prior to the Dec. 16 game against Winthrop, Upstate was strong in the last two games at home, shooting 51.3 percent from the field, 56.8 percent from the 3-point arc and 71.9 percent from the charity stripe.

 
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