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ETSU, Upstate to continue busy schedules

February 9th, 2014 8:52 pm by Joe Avento

ETSU, Upstate to continue busy schedules

When USC Upstate visits East Tennessee State tonight for an Atlantic Sun Conference basketball game, it will continue a whirlwind of activity for both teams.

The Bucs and Spartans will both be playing their third game in five days. They are tied for third place in the A-Sun standings.

“It’s like the NBA,” ETSU’s Rashawn Rembert said. “We just have to stay focused. We’ve got to keep our legs. You just have to keep going, keep grinding it out.”

The game was originally scheduled for a week ago, but when ETSU’s games against Mercer and Kennesaw State were postponed because of weather, this one was forced to move.

“I don’t like it, but it is what it is,” ETSU coach Murry Bartow said. “It’s a make-up game and wherever we placed it was not going to be an ideal spot. But we feel pretty good about ourselves right now.”

ETSU (14-11 overall, 7-5 A-Sun) has won five of its last six games, including its last two on the road. It’s coming off a 96-88 victory over Lipscomb in which Jalen Riley scored 30 points and Rembert added 21. The two junior guards combined to go 23 for 24 from the free throw line.

“We just have to keep it rolling,” Rembert said. “We’ve been playing free and loose, sharing the ball, moving the ball and getting stops. That’s pretty much what it is.”

Upstate (14-11, 7-5) is coming off a 76-59 victory at Northern Kentucky, its first road conference win of the season. Spartans forward Torrey Craig is among the league leaders in points (first at 16.9) and rebounds (fourth at 7.3) and has been a thorn in the Bucs’ side before.

“Torrey Craig is a monster,” Rembert said. “He can shoot. He can rebound. He can go to the hole. They’ve got other guys that make plays. They have good pieces. They run good stuff and they play good defense.”

Upstate’s second-leading scorer, guard Ty Greene, is out with a broken hand suffered in practice. He’s missed the last four games. Ricardo Glenn averages 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.

“Upstate is a difficult team to prepare for, big and strong,” Bartow said. “Torrey Craig is one of the better players in our league, and Eddie (Payne) does a good job coaching them. It won’t be an easy game to win.”

Rembert has increased his average to 15.9 points per game, third in the league.

The Spartans won last year’s matchup at ETSU, 88-56. It was the Bucs’ worst-ever A-Sun loss.

Tonight begins a stretch of three consecutive home games for the Bucs. Florida Gulf Coast comes in on Thursday and Stetson is here on Saturday.

“We have to make sure we pay attentIon to details and defend our home court all three games, Monday through Saturday,” Riley said.

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