Late UTSA rally falls short in 88-77 setback to USC Upstate
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Kannon Burrage and Jeromie Hill combined for 48 points, but Torrey Craig poured in 31 to lead hot-shooting USC Upstate to an 88-77 victory on Saturday at the Dr. G.B. Hodge Center.
The Spartans (4-5) blistered the nets at a 61.2-percent clip and made 12-of-20 (60 percent) from behind the 3-point line to avenge last month's 67-59 setback to the Roadrunners (3-6).
Craig was 9-for-15 from the floor and 11-of-14 at the free-throw line to lead the way. Ty Greene made five 3-pointers on six attempts in posting 15 points, while Adrian Rodgers also recorded 15.
UTSA shot 44.4 percent and made 10-of-28 (35.7 percent) from beyond the arc in addition to out-rebounding the Spartans, 32-29, including 16 on the offensive glass that led to 17 second-chance points in their first-ever game played in the state of South Carolina.
Burrage scored a career-high 25 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field, including 4-of-9 from downtown, and 9-of-10 at the charity stripe. It marked his third 20-point game of the season and seventh in his two-year career. Meanwhile, Hill tallied a season-high 23 to top the 20-point barrier for the first time this season and seventh of his career.
USC Upstate led by as many as 26, but UTSA used a 21-13 run in the final minutes to pull to within eight points.
After Craig gave the Spartans a 78-57 advantage with four minutes to play, Burrage and Hill caught fire to help pull the Roadrunners to within 82-72 with a minute to play.
Forced to foul, UTSA sent Craig to the line, where he made 1-of-2. Burrage then was fouled shooting and made the first free throw. He missed the second, but Edrico McGregor grabbed the rebound and his putback made it 83-75 with 45 ticks left on the clock.
Craig made his next four freebies to help off set another McGregor layup and the Spartans held on for the 11-point victory.
Michael Hale III returned to the floor for the Roadrunners after missing the last two games and he scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while McGregor pulled down a game-high eight rebounds to go along with four points.
UTSA opened the game with 3-pointers by Hill and Hale III, but USC Upstate responded with 18 unanswered over the next five-and-a-half minutes, 11 of which came from Craig, and it eventually took a 27-9 lead midway through the half.
The Roadrunners used a 9-0 run keyed by a four-point play by Hale III and capped with a trey from Jordan Sims to cut the deficit to 32-20 with 3:42 left in the first.
However, the Spartans reeled off eight consecutive points and closed the frame on an 11-2 run to provide the 43-22 halftime margin.
UTSA opened the second half on a 10-2 run to pull to within 45-32 after Burrage drained a three. Larry Wilkins answered a Spartans three with a three-point play at the 16:46 mark to make it 48-35.
USC Upstate stretched the lead back out to 21 when Rodgers connected from long distance to cap a 10-2 run and make it 58-37 with 14:49 remaining. A Mario Blessing 3-pointer at the 8:38 mark gave the Spartans a 70-44 advantage before UTSA used its late run to make things interesting.
The Roadrunners will return to the court on Friday, Dec. 21, when they face former Southland Conference rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (1-5). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised by Comcast SportsNet-Houston.