ASHEVILLE, N.C. - USC Upstate scored four points in the final eight seconds to rally past UNC Asheville 73-71 Thursday night at Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs (1-6) let a 16-point second-half lead disappear in the second half and allowed the Spartans (3-4) to escape with the victory.
Asheville was led by a career-high 23 points from Trent Meyer, while Jeremy Atkinson added 16 points and eight rebounds. D.J. Cunningham finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He blocked three shots to move into seventh place on the Bulldogs' career list in that category and now has 101.
Torrey Craig of Upstate led all scorers with 27 points. Ty Greene came off the bench to score 16 points, including two free throws in the final seconds to give the Spartans the victory.
It was Asheville's sixth consecutive loss and second straight by just two points.
Atkinson had put the Bulldogs in front 71-69 with two free throws with 37 seconds remaining. The Spartans came down and missed an inside shot, but Ricardo Glenn tipped in the miss and was fouled with 7.7 seconds left.
Glenn missed the free throw and in the scramble for the loose ball, Greene came up with the rebound and was fouled flagrantly by Cunningham. The Spartans were awarded two free throws and the ball with seven seconds remaining.
Greene missed the first free throw but made the second to give the Spartans their first lead of the game at 72-71. Upstate ran 3.5 seconds off the clock before Greene was fouled. He made 1-of-2 free throws to give the visitors a 73-71.
Keith Hornsby's last-second three-point shot missed giving Upstate its second straight win.
Meyer had 12 points in the first half on three 3-pointers and went 3-of-3 from the free throw line to help give the Bulldogs a 32-19 halftime lead. The Spartans struggled from the field in the first half as they went 9-of-35 for .257 percent and went just 1-of-10 from long distance.
Asheville built the lead to 16 at 47-31 on a jumper from Hornsby with 13:14 left before Upstate began to rally.
The Spartans full-court pressure and seven straight points from Craig helped lead the visitors on a 15-2 run to close to 49-46 as Green knocked down a long trey with 8:55 left.
The Bulldogs maintained the lead but turnovers and red-shot shooting from Upstate wouldn't allow Asheville to pull away. The Dogs had 10 turnovers in the second half as the Spartans shot .595 (22-of-37) from the field.
Meyer hit two free throws at the 52-second mark gave the Dogs a 69-66 lead but Fred Miller knocked down a long 3-pointer 15 seconds later to tie the game at 69-69, setting the stage for the wild finish.
UNC Asheville is off for exams and won't play again until Saturday, Dec. 8 when it hosts Montreat at 4:30 p.m.
Keith Hornsby had a career-high nine assists...Asheville has lost six straight, five by seven points or less, three by five points or less...D.J. Cunningham picked up his first double-double of the year and the eighth of his career...Meyer has scored at least 20 points in two of the last three games after scoring 20 vs. Providence at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 18.