The Stetson men's basketball team (9-13, 6-5) is set to host its first home game since defeating Lipscomb 85-69 on Jan. 19 this Thursday. The Hatters will welcome USC Upstate (13-11, 7-4) to the Edmunds Center for a 7:00 p.m. contest.
Stetson, which lost six in a row earlier this season, and recently won five straight for the first time since 2007-08, is now in the midst of a three-game skid. The Hatters are now in fifth place in the Atlantic Sun Conference with seven games remaining on the regular season schedule.
"I don't think you can worry about the streaks, good or bad," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said. "Honestly, I think you just have to give yourselves the best chance to win the next game, and that's how we won five in a row. It was one at a time."
The Hatters will take that mentality into a challenging game against the Spartans on Thursday. USC Upstate had their four-game win streak snapped last Saturday, falling to Northern Kentucky 70-65 at home. The Spartans fell to 7-4 in league play, but are still just one game back of first place Florida Gulf Coast.
"I have great respect for them," Alexander said of the Spartans. "I think they're really balanced. I think they're well coached. I think they play really hard. They play with a lot of confidence. I totally anticipate it being a game like we experienced this past weekend, where it comes down to who makes the plays in the last couple of minutes. I think they're as good as anybody in the league."
The last time these two teams met, it was senior Adam Pegg who led Stetson to the 66-64 victory in Spartanburg, scoring 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The Hatters held reigning A-Sun Player of the Year Torrey Craig to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting and 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. If Stetson plans to win in DeLand, Craig and sophomore guard Ty Greene will likely have to be kept in check.
"Craig and Greene will both get a lot of attention from us," Alexander said. "They're so important to the success of their team. There are very few games that they will win where one or both of those guys aren't significant contributors. The other guys deserve our respect as well, so it's more than just those two guys, but when Craig is scoring a lot of points, or Greene, or both, then they're really hard to beat."
Stetson and USC Upstate have played 10 times in the all-time series, dating back to a 72-64 Hatter win in 2008, and each team has come away victorious on five occasions. With the 66-64 win back on Jan. 12 of this season, Stetson snapped a three-game skid against the Spartans, and will look to build on that this Thursday.
The contest can be watched on HatterVision and ASun.TV. Audio will be available on WSBB 1230 AM, 1490 AM, and MyAM1230.com. Robbie Aaron and Ryan Rouse will be on the call for the broadcast. Live Stats, the @StetsonMBB Twitter feed, and Hat-Alerts will also be available for in-game updates.