College Corner 1/26
Upstate Eyes Top of Standings
The USC Upstate Spartans continue to roll in Big South Play. The Spartans went 2-0 last week in conference play, knocking off Gardner-Webb 74-61 on Wednesday and defeating Charleston Southern on Saturday 70-57.
Sophomore Bryson Mozone had a huge game on Wednesday against Gardner-Webb when he tallied twenty-three points and twelve rebounds in the win. Jordan Gainey added 17 points for the Spartans while Mysta Goodloe had 12.
In Saturday’s game against CSU it was Gainey who led the way in the scoring column with 17 while Bryson Mozone added 15 and Mysta Goodloe had 12.
Those two wins put Upstate at 5-1 in conference play while conference leader Longwood is 5-0.
The Spartans take on Winthrop at the Hodge Center at 6:00 on Wednesday and will travel to NC A&T for a 4:00 game on Saturday.
Wofford .500 in SOCON Play
The Terriers’ roller coaster of a run through conference play continued this week, as they defeated The Citadel 89-77 to get over .500 in the SoCon on Wednesday, but then turned in what was by far their worst performance of the season on Saturday night, as they were absolutely dominated by Furman 75-50 to fall back to 4-4 in conference.
Last week, the Terriers went with the same starting 5 of Max Klesmit, BJ Mack, Morgan Safford, Isaiah Bigelow, and Ryan Larson in both games, a combination that has seen a lot of consistency and success this season. That trend continued against the Citadel, as 3 of them put up double figures in a game the Terriers won with a strong 2nf half that saw them shoot nearly 60% from the field, 65% from behind the arch, and 85% from the charity stripe.
Max Klesmit and BJ Mack both had an incredible game shooting, as they combined for 52 points. Klesmit led the charge with 27 points, going 10-16 from the field and 5-8 from 3 point range. BJ Mack tallied 25 points, including being a perfect 6 of 6 on free throws and going 9 of 13 from the floor. Isaiah Bigelow contributed on both sides of the ball with a double double, adding 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Terriers.
Against Furman, Wofford started off slow, allowing them to start the game on a strong 9-0 run that really set the tone for how the night was going to go. It took nearly 5:00 for Wofford to break the goose egg on the scoreboard, when Austin Patterson came in off the bench and hit a 3 right before the first media timeout. After that, it seemed every time the Terriers would get back into the game or have a shot at it, Furman would nail a rally-killing 3.
At the half, Furman was 9-22 from 3 point range and led 37-27. The 2nd half fared no differently as the Paladins only shot more confidently from behind the arch while the Terriers just could not get anything going at all. Wofford had their chances, getting good drives to the rim and getting looks, but the Terriers just could not finish. They couldn’t get the big breaks they needed or shots to fall in. At one point, Wofford went 6:00 without a basket while Furman just kept piling on.
In the end, Furman shot 60% from 3 point range in the 2nd half alone, and 50% from the field on the night while Wofford shot just 38% from the field and 33% from downtown in the entire game. BJ Mack was the only Terrier player to post double digits, just missing out on a double double with 14 points and 9 rebounds. The rest of the starting 5 combined for 22 points.
Wofford will get back at it and try to go back over .500 tonight, as they go on the road to take on the Chattanooga Mocs and try to avenge a loss to them earlier this month. Saturday night, the Terriers will host UNC Greensboro. Tipoff for both games is set for 7:00.
Converse Struggles Continue
This week the Valkyries’ struggles continued as they dropped their fifth straight game, falling to North Greenville 70-65. This comes after home losses to UNC-Pembroke and Francis Marion over the weekend. Converse now sits at 5-12 overall, 4-9 in conference play.
After the big loss to Pembroke, the Valkyries played much better against Francis Marion on Saturday. Converse held a seven point lead with 3:45 left to play, before Francis Marion went on a 7-0 run to tie the game with about two minutes to play. Converse again regained the lead on a 3 pointer from Freshman Jay Mitchell which put the Valkyries up 68-67 with less than a minute to play. But the Patriots got a three point play of their own, and then knocked down a couple free throws in the final seconds to come away with a 72-68 victory.
Freshman Earl Burgess III (Dorman) led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Sigurd Lorange also had a stellar game finishing with 14 points and 10 assists in the loss.
Tuesday’s road game against North Greenville was another tight one down the stretch, but Converse couldn’t get over the hump in the second half. A late spurt pulled it to a one point game at 66-65, but North Greenville took advantage of a Converse turnover and knocked down four straight free throws to pull away in the final moments.
Lorange finished with a team high 21 points, while Burgess and Mitchell both finished in double figures with 13 and 11. Coach Saunders’ team will now have a week to prepare for their next opponent as they play at Emmanuel on Tuesday February 1st.