BLACKSBURG, Va. -- South Carolina-Upstate ended its drought against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday to earn one of its biggest wins in school history.
The Spartans got a 17-point effort from guard Ty Greene and scored with 1:52 left on a hook shot from center Babatunde Olumuyiwa to grab a two-point lead and knock off Virginia Tech 64-63.
Virginia Tech (0-1) went the final four minutes without a field goal as USC-Upstate (1-0) held on.
Greene, who poured in 15 points in the second half, led the way for the Spartans. Greene got hot in the second half, scoring 15 in the final 20 minutes to take control for the Spartans.
Coach Eddie Payne likes what he saw from his point guard.
"With Ty, you can obviously tell by watching him he's a tough guy," Payne said. "He believes in himself. And he can make shots. He gives our team a toughness in situations like we were in today."
USC-Upstate had never beaten an ACC opponent before Saturday, and Payne believes this is a big stepping stone for his players and his program.
"For us, going from a Division II program having success to a Division I program getting knocked around for years ... playing eight or nine guaranteed games and things like that. To win a game like this on an ACC floor is an exciting thing for our players."
Forward Jarell Eddie led the Hokies in scoring with 18 points, but came up short on a couple of sequences late in the game. With the Hokies down 64-62, the normally reliable free-throw shooter made just one of two to pull Tech within a point. Then on the final possession, Eddie drove hard to the basket only to have his shot blocked. Guard Devin Wilson tried to force a pass, which was deflected and picked up by the Spartans.
Despite looking a bit rushed and chaotic, Eddie felt good about the decision on the final possession.
"I felt like I made a good aggressive play," he said. "It was kind of a transition situation. They were scrambling so I attacked the basket, and they were able to just block the shot."
Forward Cadarian Raines finished with 17 points for the Hokies on seven-of-10 shooting from the field. Raines was held scoreless in the first half and only attempted one shot. Coach James Johnson said that it was a point of emphasis during the halftime speech to get Raines more involved.
"We wanted to go inside," Johnson said. "We can't live outside and play on the perimeter and shoot jump shots. We've got to throw it inside because we've got a threat down there."
Payne believes this win does a lot to convince his team that it can play with anyone.
"It gives our youngsters confidence," he said. "I think Florida Gulf Coast running the tournament last year gave our team a picture of what can be. Our league has been an underpublicized, difficult league. ... People don't know as much about the Atlantic Sun. You mix all of that in, I think it's going to give our players a lot more confidence moving forward."
The Spartans had three players score in double digits. Forward Torrey Craig made just five of his 20 attempts from the field in scoring 13 points. Forward Ricardo Glenn scored 10 points on just six shots before fouling out late in the game.
Virginia Tech was without starting forward CJ Barksdale, as well as guard Marquis Rankin. Barksdale is serving a three-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Rankin did not play due to personal reasons, and there is no timetable for his return.
Johnson sees some hope in the loss, citing the number of youngsters playing prominent roles for his team.
"We're going to learn from this," he said. "At times you look out there and there's a lot of youth out there. Devin Wilson is out there, Ben Emelogu is out there, and Adam Smith is out there. Those three guys have never played a basketball game at this level."
Notes: USC-Upstate, picked to finish third in the Atlantic Sun Conference by preseason polls, was previously 0-7 against teams from the ACC. The Spartans are 1-1 all-time against the Hokies. ... Heralded Virginia Tech signee, guard Ben Emelogu, knocked down his first two attempts as a Hokie. He drilled back-to-back 3s, and those were his only points of the afternoon as he picked up four early fouls. ... Spartans forward Torrey Craig scored in double digits again. Craig has led the Atlantic Sun in scoring for two consecutive years and could become the first player in conference history to make it three in a row. ... Virginia Tech plays host to West Virginia on Tuesday in Cassell Coliseum. USC-Upstate returns to the Palmetto state to visit Winthrop.