CSU Coach Greene Reaches Win No. 500 Milestone
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- In 25 years at Columbus State, Herbert Greene has just two wins at the G.B. Hodge Center on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate.
The first came Dec. 1, 2001 and was his 400th career win as a head coach. That win came in a thrilling 83-79 overtime contest. Four years later, Greene collected his second win here Monday night and, ironically, it was his 500th win and came in another thriller -- this one a 94-89 nailbiter.
'There haven't been many sweeter than this one,' said a jubilant Greene. 'Gosh, what a great win -- we just stayed after them and stayed after them and played hard. We switched defenses on them and that helped us and we just got it done. This was a fun game to coach because of how hard these guys played.'
The game was tight throughout, with both teams shooting well from the outset. The Spartans shot just under 66 percent in the first half -- 70 percent from three-point range -- and took a 51-45 lead into the locker room at the half. Meanwhile, CSU was shooting 53 percent overall with six treys. The two teams fought to six ties and 16 lead changes in the half before Upstate finally gained the upper hand, closing out the final 2:17 on an 11-4 run to take the six-point advantage.
Upstate held the lead for almost 14 minutes of the second half, allowing the Cougars to tie the score just once -- at 59-all -- with 14:27 left. Ransom Antoine's layup capped a 6-0 run for the Cougars to earn the tie. The Spartans answered with a 6-0 run of its own to regain control and would take its biggest lead on a Luke Payne three- pointer with 11:07 left to make it 70-63. CSU used another 6-0 spurt to get within one at 70-69 with 10:02 left, capped by a Corris Portis trey. Upstate would again answer and stretch its lead to as many as five points -- 77-72 -- with 8:18 left. At that point, CSU began to chip away and out-scored the Spartans 6-1 to tied the game at 78 with 6:51 left.
The Cougars took the lead for the first time since the first half 33 seconds later on a Portis layup, going coast-to-coast after a defensive rebound. The two teams would swap the lead four more times before CSU finally gained control. Trailing 83-82 with 4:14 left, CSU used a 7-0 run to take a 89-83 lead with 2:48 left. Upstate would get as close as two points on a pair of Ivica Grgurovich free-throws with 1:38 left, but the Cougars got a huge basket from Will Davis with 14 seconds left to take a 93-89 lead and Nathan Patterson sealed the win by hitting one of two free-throws with three seconds left.
Ron Robinson, feeling ill the entire game with a stomach ailment, played through the nausea and scored a season-high 32 points on 10-18 shooting on the night. He also added four assists and four steals. He was one of five Cougars in double digits on the evening. Antoine chipped in 19 points, while Davis added 14 on 6-8 shooting overall and 2-2 from three-point range. Corris Portis added 13 and Patterson 10 to go with eight rebounds. CSU shot just under 56 percent in the second half and 54 percent for the game.
Upstate (11-4, 6-3) was led by Jay Free's 19 points including a 4-4 night from beyond the arc. Grgurovich added 17 points, while freshman Daniel Quinlan added 16. Erikas Kauppaitis added 12 and Payne 11. Grgurovich led the Spartans in rebounding with eight. As a team, Upstate out-rebounded the Cougars by one -- 32-31 -- and shot 57 percent on the night.
Greene was ecstatic after the game. 'It has been a great 25 years and coming to Columbus was the best move I ever made as a coach. I have been truly blessed,' he said. The Cougars (13-4, 7-1) do not have long to celebrate the big win as Georgia College & State University comes to CSU Wednesday for another key Peach Belt Conference matchup. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Lumpkin Center.