SPARTANBURG, South Carolina — Mario Blessing nailed a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to secure South Carolina Upstate's 68-65 victory over upset-minded Kennesaw State to open Atlantic Sun Conference play on Saturday.
Blessing enjoyed his 23rd birthday as he was 2 of 4 from long range for 10 points. Ty Greene, who made two free throws in the final 13 seconds, had 18 points, and Fred Miller chipped in 16 for South Carolina Upstate (13-4, 1-0).
The Spartans were up 53-43 following Miller's dunk with 9:16 remaining in the game. Kennesaw State's Nigel Pruitt, who finished with 32 points, made nine straight to close to 53-52. The Spartans pulled away to lead 61-52 with 4:25 left. Pruitt and the Owls came back to trail 63-62 with 1:58 remaining. Blessing hit the 3 and Greene made the free throws for the win.
Pruitt made 6 of 11 from long range for Kennesaw State (5-12, 0-1).