The score was tied at 35 at intermission and USC-Upstate pulled away on an 11-2 run with 16:19 to go. The Norse got no closer than four points for the rest of the game and USC-Upstate held its largest lead at 11.
The Spartans shot 53.1 percent from the floor, but made just two 3-pointers on 11 attempts.
Tyler White scored 17 points to lead Northern Kentucky (7-10, 3-2). The Norse shot 12 of 15 (80 percent) from the free-throw line and made seven from 3-point range.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.
Mike Brey is looking at former Notre Dame players to fill two assistant jobs that have opened up with the departures of Martin Ingelsby and Anthony Solomon.
Purdue's 2016-17 prospects got a jolt Wednesday when forward Caleb Swanigan announced he will return for his sophomore season.