Previewing USC Upstate

NC State (4-3) returns home after back-to-back road games to face USC Upstate (2-6) in Reynolds Coliseum. Pack Pride takes a closer look at the Spartans -- tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m on Saturday.


    G Tony Dukes (7.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
    G Josh Chavis (5.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
    F Torrey Craig (11.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
    F Mezie Uzochukwu (5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg)
    C Chalmers Rogers (5.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

    Torrey Craig - The team's leading scorer and rebounder, Craig is coming off back-to-back double-double outings. Just a freshman, Craig has twice been named conference Newcomer of the Week.

    USC Game Notes

    Spartan Tip-Off
    After a pair of home victories over UNC Asheville (W, 93-91, 2OT) and ETSU (W, 60-59), the USC Upstate men's basketball squad will hit the road to face NC State, the second of three Atlantic Coast Conference schools on the Spartans' schedule this season.

    In round one of the ACC bout, the Spartans battled Virginia on Nov. 15 and were tied at 42-42 with 14 minutes remaining before eventually falling to the Cavaliers, 74-54.

    Upstate will make just two trips to the state of North Carolina this season. After traveling to Raleigh, the second and final trip will come on Feb. 26 when the Spartans travel to Buies Creek, to face A-Sun foe Campbell.

    • The Spartans are 0-2 all-time on December 11, last falling at the College of Charleston, 59-57, in 1982.

    • Freshman Torrey Craig earned his second A-Sun Newcomer of the Week award after leading the Spartans to their first ever win over ETSU. Craig fin- ished with 18 points and a career-best 15 rebounds.

    • Senior Josh Chavis has 11 assists in his last two games, he had just 10 in the Spartans first six outings.

    • Senior Mezie Uzochukwu needs just three points to become the 39th player in school history to score 700 points in a career.

    • Junior Chalmers Rogers was 1-for-2 from the floor against ETSU, but his layup with three seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as Upstate claimed the one-point win.

    • Despite scoring just 60 points on Sunday, two players reached double figures (Craig - 18 and Chavis -12) and two others were just one point from double-figures (Cook - 9 and Olumuyiwa - 9).

    • Head coach Eddie Payne owns a career-record of 21-21 against teams from the state of North Carolina, but he has never faced the Wolfpack.

    Spartans Streaking
    With the 60-59 victory over ETSU on Sunday afternoon at the Hodge Center, Upstate has now won nine consecutive home conference openers. Upstate's streak began on Jan. 11, 2003 when Up- state (then a member of D-II and the Peach Belt Conference) defeated Armstrong Atlantic State 63- 62. Since moving to D-I, Upstate has won four straight home conference openers (Gardner-Webb (1/10/08), North Florida (1/3/09), Stetson (11/30/09) and ETSU (12/5/10)).

    Sloan's Big Five
    Freshman guard Marquis Sloan recorded five steals at South Carolina on Nov. 23. Sloan became the first Spartan to record five or more in a single-game since Jeremy Byrd during the 2007-08 sea- son. Byrd had five steals against the University of Buffalo on Dec. 22, 2007 in the Sun Bowl Tournament (El Paso, Texas).

    One-Man Swat Team
    Two days after posting career-highs of nine points, six rebounds and four blocks against East Carolina (11/21), Babatunde Olumuyiwa was at it again, setting career-bests in all three categories at South Carolina (11/23). The freshman forward nearly recorded a double-double and a triple-double wasn't out of the equation either. He finished with 11 points, nine blocks and seven rebounds.

    His nine rejections cemented his name in three different record books.His nine rejections were the most ever by a Upstate basketball player, surpassing the old mark of seven, held by Nick Schneiders (vs. Florida Gulf Coast - Dec. 14, 2009). Olumuyiwa tied a single-game conference record as he joined Mercer's Calvin Henry, Lipscomb's Eddie Ard, Georgia State's Sylvestor Morgan, Jacksonville's Haminn Quaintance and Ryan Lewis as the only individuals to record nine blocks in a single-game.

    He also put his name in the South Carolina men's basketball record book as his nine rejections are the third-most ever against the Gamecocks. The only names ahead of Olumuyiwa's in the Gamecock record book are Derek Holcomb (Illinois) and Shaquille O'Neal (LSU). Holcomb (12/8/78) and O'Neal (2/19/92) each recorded 11 blocks against South Carolina.

    Craig Shines in Charleston
    True freshman Torrey Craig had an outstanding tournament for the Spartans at the 2010 Charles- ton Classic (Nov. 18-19, 21). In three outings the forward from Rock Hill, S.C., averaged 13.6 ppg and 6.3 rpg. He posted career-highs of 13 points and seven rebounds against Wofford on Thursday. Against Coastal Carolina, Craig connected on six shots (five treys) en route to 17 points against the Chanticleers. He posted career-highs of 19 points and eight rebounds against East Carolina on the final day of the Charleston Classic.

    Gimme The Rock
    Upstate guard Tony Dukes scored the first basket of the game for the Spartans in the first five games of 2010-11. In the first four games, Dukes hit three-pointers, but the sophomore switched it up against East Carolina as he hit a jumper from just outside the paint.

    The Duke
    Upstate got a huge boost from sophomore guard Tony Dukes at Virginia as the Ellenwood, Ga., native canned all five of his three point attempts en route to 19 points on the night. Dukes hit a three-pointer to help jumpstart a quick 6-0 burst by the Spartans to tie the game at 42-all with 14:20 remaining in Charlottesville. On the night, Duke was 6-for-8 overall (.750), 5-for-5 on treys (1.000) and connecting on two free throw attempts.

    Mister Rogers Neighborhood
    Chalmers Rogers has quietly had a strong start to his junior season. The Fort Mill, S.C., native pulled down a career-best nine rebounds at Michigan and has scored seven points (at Michigan) and eight (at Virginia). His eight-point outing at Virginia was just one off of his career-high. Scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds at South Carolina. Despite scoring just one basket against ETSU, it might have been the biggest shot of his career as his layup with three seconds remaining gave Upstate a 60-59 win over the Bucs.

    Young Spartans
    When Upstate hits the court this season, nearly every team they face off against will be more experienced than the young group of Spartans. Upstate has a total of just 10 seasons of D-I experience on its roster (Chavis - 3, Uzochukwu - 3, Cook - 2, Rogers - 2). The Spartans are one of 26 teams to have 10 years or fewer of D-I experience on its 2010-11 roster.

    The only team Upstate will face that is younger than the Spartans is the Michigan Wolverines (9), which the Spartans have already squared off against. Leading the way with fewest years of D-I experience is Eastern Washington with just four combined seasons of D-I play, followed by Sacramento State and Texas-Arlington with five each.

    Dukes' High School Jersey Retired
    Tony Dukes had his No. 5 jersey retired at halftime of the 7:30 p.m. game of the Morrow (Ga.) Mus- tangs Classic tournament on Wednesday, November 24, 2010. Dukes finished his career at Morrow as the second all-time leading scorer in school history. He holds the school record for three-pointers in a season (69) and career (139). As a senior in 2008-09, he averaged 20.4 points per game on his way to being named Clayton County player of the year by the Clayton News Daily/Henry Daily Herald.

    The Spartans will be without the services on Rob Elam for the 2010-11 season after Elam suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason. The Batesburg, S.C., native transferred to Upstate after a two-year stint at East Mississippi College. Elam redshirted the 2009-10 season, but had a solid fresh- man year in 2008-09 at East Mississippi College under head coach Mark White.

    The 6-6 forward, who originally signed with Austin Peay out of prep school, averaged five points and 3.6 rebounds as a freshman at East Mississippi, shot 52 percent from the field and had 22 blocked shots.

    Pack Your Bags!
    Like the previous three seasons of Division I play, Upstate will hit the road early to face teams from BCS-conferences including its first appearance in the Charleston Classic. Upstate began the season with games at Michigan from the Big Ten and at Virginia out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Following the three games in Charleston, Upstate battled the Southeastern Conference's South Carolina before finally playing in the friendly confines of the newly renovated Hodge Center against UNC Asheville (Nov. 29). Upstate will also travel to face N.C. State (ACC), Auburn (SEC) and Virginia Tech (ACC), not to mention a 10-game A-Sun road slate.

    Upstate Picked To Finish 11th In Preseason Poll
    The Spartans were selected to finish 11th in the league in the both the Preseason Coaches' Poll and Preseason Media Poll. Lipscomb was selected to claim the regular-season and tournament crowns in both polls and Lipscomb's Adnan Hodzic was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year.

  • Pack Pride Top Stories