The men’s basketball team faced off against the University of South Carolina Upstate at home on Saturday, Feb. 3, handily defeating the Spartans 93-69.
In their previous matchup against the Spartans one week prior, the Owls escaped with a buzzer beater from Anthony Wilson to win 81-80. Though the final score reflected the largest margin of victory for the Owls this year, they trailed by two points at halftime.
An incredible second half coupled with a 30-point performance from sophomore James Scott inspired the Owls to run away from the Spartans for an astonishing win.
Scott tallied 30 points and 4 assists, marking his second 30-point game this season. He shot from deep with accuracy, scoring half of his points off of 3-pointers, and was able to take charge and lead the Owls to their third conference victory.
The Owls corrected many of the mistakes that have plagued them for the duration of the season, which included turnovers and a sporadic shooting percentage. The team shot 53.8 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range. Executing their offensive plan with patience, the Owls consistently found clear shots during the game.
They were also able to limit their turnover count to six for the entire game, a new season low. Turnovers have haunted the Owls all season long, but continuing to protect the ball will help them immensely moving forward.
The Owls got off to a quick start in the game, leading by as many as eight points, but the Spartans retaliated with eight 3-pointers and a buzzer-beating layup to take the lead at the half by one.
In the second half, the Owls opened firing on all cylinders. Scott lead the owls on a 22-4 run, shutting down the Spartans offense and converting defense into points.
KSU was able to force 14 turnovers, and six of those turnovers were forced in only a five-minute span. Kyle Clarke stepped up big defensively for KSU, swiping the ball away three times.
Senior Nick Masterson showed up big for the Owls as well. Scoring 17 points on 7-13 shooting, he reeled in nine rebounds and four assists to aid the team.
Masterson now has a total of 986 career points, a milestone not many college basketball players today are able to reach. With so many players shortening their college basketball careers, this is evidence of Masterson’s magnificent scoring ability and dedication to this basketball program.
The next matchup for the Owls is at home against North Florida on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. In the previous game against Ospreys, the Owls were defeated 78-85. That loss was the result of a poor field goal percentage from the Owls, who shot 35.5 percent from the field that day.