The USC Upstate Spartans came into Sunday afternoon having not lost an out-of-conference home game since December 16, 2009. UNC Asheville made the short trip to Spartanburg looking to end that twelve game streak that Eddie Payne's squad has put together.
For Asheville and first year head coach Nick McDevitt it has been a baptism by fire. The Bulldogs did not play their first home game of the season until this past Thursday in a 92-56 win over Bluefield College. Instead, UNCA has hit the road playing the likes of Kentucky, Duke, and Charlotte.
Upstate came into today's game with a 5-4 mark, but hadn't play a game since December 3 when they lost to Cincinnati.
The Spartans very much looked like a team that had been on a twelve day hiatus as they looked winded early and Asheville would jump out to an early 7-4 lead. Upstate would respond after the first media timeout and a Torrey Craig three would put the Spartans up 16-10. It would be the last sequence in which Upstate would lead. A squandered two-for-one opportunity at the end of the first half and a deep David Robertson three would give the Bulldogs the momentum once and for all.
The Spartans could never put together a run in the second half to get them over the hump, despite 19 points from Craig and Ty Greene. Four of Craig's made shots would come from beyond the arc, while Greene was 10 for 11 at the charity stripe.
UNCA had three players in double-figures, lead by early Big South Freshman of the Year candidate Andrew Rowsey who had 19 points. Jaron Lane went 12 for 12 from the charity stripe to finish with 14 points. David Robertson, who nailed the back breaker at the end of the first, finished with 18 points including four three-pointers.
Upstate will need to wait until New Years Eve to start a new non-conference win streak when they host North Greenville. Between then and now the Spartans will hit the road to play South Carolina and Charlotte.
Asheville will return home for a four game homestand where they'll play two non-Division I opponents, UNC Wilmington, and Ohio.
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