SPARTANBURG, S.C. – With one second to play in regulation, Everette Hammond (Silver Springs, Md.) got off a contested three-pointer that bounced off the back board and ended the game in a 69-68 loss to Hampton on Thursday evening inside the G.B. Hodge Center.
“Sometimes better offensive beats good defense, and that was the case tonight. Our guys kept fighting. We will have to see what they’re made up of tomorrow.” USC Upstate coach Stacey Palmore, “We didn’t make plays when we need to. We forced some shots in the first half and got down. We got ourselves in a hole and can’t do that tomorrow. We’ve got to have short term memory since we’ve got to play again tomorrow. We’ve got to be better tomorrow night and can’t dig ourselves into a big hole.”
For USC Upstate (3-10, 3-4 BSC) tonight’s loss snapped a three-game winning streak dating back to New Year’s Eve. For Hampton (6-8, 5-4 BSC) they have now won two straight contests.
Despite winning the opening tip-off the Spartans started the game off a bit sluggish on the offensive end of the ball. At the 17:55 mark of the opening half, Hammond nailed a three-pointer to give the Spartans their first points of the game. Dajour Dickens made back-to-back dunks and Hampton held an early 8-3 advantage.
An 11-3 run by Hampton gave the Pirates a commanding 19-7 lead with 13:27 to play in the half. Dalvin White (Norcross, Ga.) and Bryson Mozone (North Augusta, S.C.) hit back-to-back three’s to try and stop the bleeding, but soon the Pirates held a 31-15 lead with 8:43 to play in the opening frame.
Of the seven shots made by the Spartans in the first fifteen minutes of the contest, six of them were three-pointers. Hammond and White contributed four three-pointer during this time. At the 8:12 mark of the opening period a Tommy Bruner (Columbia, S.C) three-pointer jump started the Spartan offense. White and Hammond connected on a pair of three’s and Jatayveous Watson (Newnan, Ga.) slammed the ball through on a dunk attempt.
Moments later Nevin Zink (Newtown, Conn.) got in on the dunking action and the Spartans were back within 10 of the Pirates. After a turnover by Hampton with 35 seconds to go in the game, Upstate had a chance to take the last shot going into the halftime break. White shot the ball but had his shot attempted swatted away by Raymond Bethea. Josh Aldrich (Wilmington, N.C.) grabbed the rebound and nailed a last second three-pointer, as the Spartans trailed 40-33 at the halftime intermission.
In the second half, the Spartans came out stronger defensively and forced the Pirates to make a few bad choices early on. Trailing 55-42 with 14:12 to go in the game, the Spartans began to make their move offensively against the Pirates. Hammond converted on an old fashioned three-point play and moments later hit a mid-range jumper to pull the Spartans to within eight. White hit a fast break three-pointer and forced Hammond to call their first timeout of the game to stop the Spartan run. Following the timeout Mozone drew a foul and converted a pair of free throws to make it a 55-52 game with 10:35 to play.
The teams traded baskets for a few possessions as Hampton once again took a seven-point lead over the Spartans. White hit a three-pointer with 5:17 remaining in the game to make it a three-point game, moments later Watson hit a mid-range jumper and the Spartans trailed 61-60.
Hampton once again came away with a timely 7-0 run to remain in control of the game. A layup by Bruner with 1:48 to play cut the lead to five-points and a three-pointer by White with 57 seconds to go in the game saw the Spartans trailing by only a pair. Forced to foul down the stretch, Davion Warren connected on a pair of free throws to make it a four-point Pirate advantage.
Following an Upstate timeout Hammond took the in-bounds pass and drove the length of the court and found White for a wide-open three-pointer. Hampton called a timeout with two seconds remaining in the game to draw up an in-bounds pass, but it did not work as Bethea turned the ball over with one second to play. The Spartans still had a chance but a last second heave from Hammond rattled off the backboard.
Hammond was the Spartans’ leading scorer with 21 points, his season high. White tied his career high of 20 points. Six of White’s points were from beyond the arch, the most triples in his career. Bruner contributed 10 points. Josh Aldrich was the lead rebounder (7), his career high.
The Pirates’ lead scorer, Davion Warren, had 34 points, his new career high. Chris Shelton finished with 13 points. Dajour Dickens contributed 10 rebounds to the contest.
UP next for the Spartans
The Spartans are back at home tomorrow evening against Hampton at 6:00 p.m.
TV: ESPN+ (Online and the ESPN app)
PxP: Brock Bowling
Color: Richmond Weaver
Single-game tickets are not available for sale to the general public. Due to limited seating capacity in accordance with social distancing guidelines, tickets for this season are reserved for season ticket holders, player families, and USC Upstate students. For more information, click here.
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