DeLand, Fla. - Three Hatters scored in double-figures led by Corey Walden (Ormond Beach, Fla.) with 13, yet Stetson (6-18, 4-9 A-Sun) could not keep pace and fell 72-59 to USC Upstate (4-19, 3-10 A-Sun) Friday night in the Edmunds Center. The loss evened the season series between the two teams as the Hatters defeated the Spartans 74-71 in Spartanburg, South Carolina on January 8. Stetson has now lost seven consecutive games, the longest negative streak for the Hatters since 2005-06 when they opened the season with 10 defeats.
With 13:23 remaining in the first half Ridge Graham (Stuart, Fla.) buried a 3-pointer and Stetson led by a point at 10-9. It was the only lead by the Hatters on the night. Upstate took a 10-point lead on a jumper by Torrey Craig at 5:23 and then went on to lead by nine at the break.
Just under half way through the second period a Walden made a layup and the Hatters had scrambled to within five points at 46-41. An 11-2 Spartan run over the next 4:23 pushed the lead to 14 points and the visitors never looked back.
For the game Stetson shot 40% (24-of-60) from the field including just 7-for-26 (26.9%) from beyond the arc. The Hatters also hit only 25% (4-of-16) from the free throw line.
"You can't shoot 4-of 16 from the free throw line and expect to beat anybody", said Stetson head coach Derek Waugh. "We just didn't make stops, we didn't make plays, and when we did get a stop we gave them too many second chances."
In addition to Walden's 13 points Luis Jacobo (Sanford, Fla.) scored 12 and Ridge Graham added 10. Once again Steve Forbes (Clermont, Fla.) was the team's leading rebounder after pulling down seven boards. Walden narrowly missed his first career double-double after dishing out a season-high nine assists. He also had four steals and a blocked shot.
Torrey Craig (Rock Hill, S.C.), the A-Sun's top Freshman of the Year Candidate along with Walden, led all scorers with 20 points and all rebounders with 14.
"Give them a ton of credit for coming in and beating us after struggling the way they have this season. Obviously we are struggling too and I don't necessarily know what it is going to take for us to snap out of it", said Waugh.
Next up the Hatters remain at home to host ETSU on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Stetson fans can catch the game on to Hatter Vision with 17-year veterans Murray Miller and Harry Arnold calling the action. Be sure to follow the Hatters on Twitter at @StetsonSID, on Facebook at Stetson Athletics, and check out the Stetson Hatters channel onYouTube.