SPARTANBURG, S.C. (MERCER RELEASE) - The Mercer men's basketball team continues Atlantic Sun Conference road play on Sunday, challenging USC Upstate at the Hodge Center at 2 p.m.
Mercer (18-5, 9-1 A-Sun) has won eight-straight games and 13 of its last 14 entering Sunday's action. The team's 18 wins is tied for the ninth most in the country, trailing only Michigan State (19), Cincinnati (20), Syracuse (20), Wichita State (21) and Arizona (21).
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE
USC Upstate is riding a three-game winning streak after downing Kennesaw State 65-48 in Spartanburg on Friday night. The Spartans are 7-1 in the Hodge Center this season, with the lone loss coming in a non-conference tilt against UNC Asheville on Dec. 15.
The Spartans return all five starters from last year's team that went 16-17 (9-9 A-Sun) and lost to Mercer in the A-Sun Semifinals. The team was picked third in a preseason poll of A-Sun coaches, while seniors Torrey Craig, Ricardo Glenn and junior Ty Greene were all named Preseason All-Conference.
Craig ranks second among conference players with an average of 16.5 points per game, accounting for nearly 23% of the team's offensive output. Craig also leads the conference in rebounding, pulling down an average of 7.6 per game. On Sunday, the Spartans will likely be without the services of Greene, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal bone in his right hand on Thursday. Glenn has double-doubles in three-straight games and ranks fourth in the league standings with 7.1 rebounds per game.
Head coach Eddie Payne is in his 11th year at the helm of the program and owns a 169-186 record with the team. He's taken the Spartans to the postseason once, appearing in the 2012CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Mercer owns a 11-2 lead in the all-time series between the teams. The Bears have won each of the last 10 meetings, with their last loss to the Spartans on Feb. 26, 2009.
Since removing the faskmask he was forced to wear after breaking his nose on Jan. 30, Bud Thomas is averaging 19.4 points in five games. Thomas has shot 24-of-49 (49.0%) from 3-point range over that span.
Bud Thomas' nine 3-pointers at Lipscomb on Jan. 18 was a program single-game record. Thomas nearly accomplished the feat again on Friday night, drilling eight 3-pointers at ETSU.
Langston Hall moved into the top-50 all-time scorers in Atlantic Sun history on Friday night. His 1,380 career points also ranks 10th among Mercer all-time scoring leaders.
Jakob Gollon's third career double-double featured 10 points and 11 rebounds on Friday night. He was also just three assists shy of registering a triple-double.
Jakob Gollon was named to the COSIDA Academic All-American District IV first team for the second-straight year on Thursday. As a member of the District first team, Gollon now advances to the ballot for first, second and third-team Academic All-American honors.
Mercer's win over ETSU established the third season in a row that head coach Bob Hoffman and company have had a winning streak of at least eight games in conference play.