Bryson Mozone led the Spartans with a double-double Wednesday. (Photo: USC Upstate Athletics)
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – USC Upstate built on a four-point halftime advantage, leading by as many as 18 en route to a 74-61 road victory at Gardner-Webb. The win placed the Spartans in sole possession of second place in the South division of the Big South.
Bryson Mozone tallied a double-double for the Spartans, pouring in 23 and snaring 12 rebounds. Two additional Spartans joined Mozone in doubles – Jordan Gainey contributed 17 and Mysta Goodloe 12.
Kareem Reid led Gardner-Webb with 15, adding seven boards to his tally. D’Maurian Williams scored 11, with Lance Terry and Jordan Sears adding ten apiece.
Upstate (7-10, 4-1 Big South) grabbed a 6-5 lead on the second of back-to-back Bryson Mozone triples
The Spartans seized their largest advantage of the period at the 6:48 mark, with Jordan Gainey sinking three free throws to break a two-plus minute scoring drought from both sides and put Upstate ahead by 11
Gardner-Webb (9-9, 3-2) charged back from that deficit, closing the period on a 12-5 burst that shaved the Spartan lead to four (33-29) at the interval
D’Maurian Williams and Zion Williams helped key the run, scoring four apiece during the stretch
FIRST HALF STATS
FG%: 13-27 (48.1%) 3FG%: 4-13 (30.8%) FT%: 3-3 (100%)
Leading scorer: Mozone/Gainey (9)
FG%: 10-31 (32.3%) 3FG%: 2-9 (22.2%) FT: 7-8 (87.5%)
Leading scorer: D. Williams/Z. Williams (7)
Gardner-Webb finally leveled the contest at 36 on a Julien Soumaoro triple from the top of the key, only for Upstate to nearly immediately counter on a Josh Aldrich bucket
The run continued, with the Spartans going on a 12-0 burst to grow their lead to 48-36 with 15:26 to play, forcing a Tim Craft timeout
Lance Terry dropped a triple just inside the 10-minute mark to shrink the Upstate lead to eight, only for Upstate to answer at the other end and swell the lead back to double digits
Jordan Gainey sank a corner trey that gave Upstate its largest lead (15) just inside the five-minute mark (65-50)
Upstate’s lead grew as far as 18 on several occasions
Gardner-Webb Coach Tim Craft
ON THE GAME: “We obviously weren’t good enough on either end tonight. We struggled to score. We shot 37 percent. We could not stop them. A lot of credit to Upstate, to Coach (Dave) Dickerson and his staff. He’s got those guys playing really well right now. We felt like it was gonna be a challenge to guard them. They’re playing with so much offensive confidence right now. I thought the other thing they did was that they defended tonight. Obviously, we weren’t good enough, but credit Upstate for really playing well.”
ON MOZONE: “He was a big emphasis for our team (in the scout). He’s playing really well. He’s gotten better every year. He’s really become a much better player. He’s playing with a ton of confidence. We tied it at 36, and then he bangs in two threes. Our defense wasn’t disciplined enough – we overhelped a couple of times and gave him enough space to get his shot off. With he and Gainey, they’re capable of really going off. That was a huge emphasis for us. We just didn’t do a good enough job.”
ON GETTING TO THE LINE: “It was good that we got to the foul line a little more. We had a big emphasis to attack the paint tonight and that led to us getting to the foul line a little bit. We weren’t able to finish plays like we needed to.”
ON KAREEM REID: “He definitely got it right to some great spots. He was 6-for-10 (from the floor). He probably missed a couple that he probably could have made. I thought he made really good moves. We felt like that was an area tonight that we could go and have some good results. Our team was good about trying to get him the ball. He had a good night.”
ON WINTHROP: “What’s good is that we get to play on Saturday, so we can try to get this bad taste out of our mouth. We’ve gotta come in tomorrow and really get to work and kind of evaluate what we did wrong tonight. We’ve gotta fix it fast. Obviously, Winthrop’s got a great program and they’re really talented. It’ll be all we can handle over there.”
NEXT UP: Upstate hosts Charleston Southern Saturday. Tip time is 4:00 in the Hodge Center. Gardner-Webb travels to Winthrop for a 2:00 start Saturday.
USC UPSTATE 74, GARDNER-WEBB 61
UPSTATE (7-10, 4-1 BIG SOUTH): Aldrich 2-3 0-0 4, Goodloe 4-9 3-3 12, Mozone 7-12 4-4 23, Gainey 6-13 3-3 17, White 1-2 0-0 2, Smith 1-3 0-0 2, Breazeale 0-1 4-4 4, Rideau 1-6 0-0 3, Langlais 3-4 1-2 7. Totals 25-53 15-16 74.
GARDNER-WEBB (9-9, 3-2): Reid 6-10 3-6 15, Dufeal 0-3 0-0 0, Terry 3-6 2-2 10, Soumaoro 3-5 0-0 8, D. Williams 2-11 6-6 11, Sears 3-8 3-5 10, Selden 0-5 0-0 0, Z. Williams 3-6 1-4 7. Totals 20-54 15-23 61.
Halftime — Upstate 33-29. 3-Point Goals—Upstate 9-23 (Goodloe 1-2, Mozone 5-8, Gainey 2-6, White 0-1, Breazeale 0-1, Rideau 1-5), Gardner-Webb 6-20 (Dufeal 0-1, Terrry 2-4, Soumaoro 2-4, D. Williams 1-6, Sears 1-3, Selden 0-2). Fouled Out — NA. Rebounds — Upstate 35 (Mozone 12), Gardner-Webb 32 (Reid/Terry 7). Assists —Upstate 15 (Gainey 5), Gardner-Webb 12 (Sears 3). Total Fouls — Upstate 19, Gardner-Webb 16. Technical — NA. A —NA.