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March 16, 2012Spartanburg, S.C. - Kent State's basketball season came to an end Thursday night at the hands of the University of South Carolina Upstate, falling to the Spartans 73-58 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The Golden Flashes (21-12) never led as the Spartans delivered a thorough, 40 minute thrashing to one of the MAC's most consistent teams.
It started early for Upstate (21-12), who were playing in the first postseason game in school history, and they never relented, keeping Kent State at arm's length for much of the night. Four Spartan players scored in double-figures, led by Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Torrey Craig, who finished with 17 points.
The Golden Flashes trailed by 18 at the intermission, and despite a strong start to the second-half, couldn't get it closer than 8 points the rest of the way. They struggled mightily with the basketball, turning it over 25 times as USC Upstate collected a staggering 17 steals.
For their part, Kent State failed to take advantage of 17 Spartan turnovers, which neutralized the fact that KSU was better than Upstate from the floor, 44-percent to 42.9-percent. However, another rough night from the free-throw line (64.7-percent) and the balanced Spartan attack was too much for Kent State to overcome.
For the Flashes, the loss brings to an end a once promising season; and with it, the career of one of the school's most celebrated hoopsters, Justin Greene. The 2011 MAC Player of the Year finished his illustrious career with 1545 points, good for third all-time in KSU history. He also ended his run in Kent second all-time with 814 rebounds and 120 blocked shots.
Kent State will have to fill a few large pairs of shoes next season as four starters depart; guards Michael Porrini, Carlton Guyton and center Justin Manns all joined the aforementioned Greene in their last game wearing the blue and gold.