College Corner 2/2
Terriers Play 3 Games in 5 Days
Wofford had a tough slate this week, not necessarily with who they played, but rather with the scheduling itself. The Terriers had to play 3 games in 5 days with an extremely short turnaround between Saturday night and Monday night. Things did not go quite the way they had hoped, as the Terriers went 1-3 over the past week, continuing to struggle with finding consistency, getting up to .500 in conference play only to drop a game or 2 and end up just under.
Wednesday night, Wofford traveled up to Chattanooga to battle with the Mocs, who currently sit in first place in the Southern Conference standings. As had been the trend for the Terriers, they got off to a very slow start that put them in a deep hole early on with the already slow-paced but aggressive-shooting style of basketball they tend to play. The Terriers were outshot in the paint in the first half 46%-27% and were outdone from behind the arch 50%-23%. In spite of that, they only trailed by 9 at the half, 32-23. Naturally, the Terriers fared much better in the 2nd half, trading baskets with Chattanooga until late in the game, when the Mocs went on a run to open up a double-digit lead with about a minute to play, en route to a 71-60 win. Wofford had 3 shooters in double figures, led by BJ Mack, who logged 18 points and 7 rebounds. Ryan Larson scored 14 points, going 5 of 9 from the floor and 4 for 7 from 3 point range. Max Klesmit was 5-16 from the field with 13 points.
In a game where Wofford so strongly needed a big bounceback win, they answered the bell in style at home against UNC Greensboro on Saturday night with a dominant 85-66 win over the Spartans. In similar fashion to Wednesday night, Wofford was aggressive shooting the ball, but this time it worked out for them as they were able to pounce early. Max Klesmit attacked and set the tone early for the entire game draining a wide open 3 pointer on the Terriers’ 2nd possession – part of a perfect 4 for 4 start from behind the arch for him (fun fact: Wofford is 4-1 on the season when Max hits 4 or more threes in a game). Wofford shot the ball very effectively both from 3 point range and in the field all game, shooting nearly 60% from the field and over 50% from behind the arch. They had 6 players hit at least 1 three pointer on the night, with Klesmit going 4 of 9, BJ Mack 4 for 5, Ryan Larson 3-5, and Austin Patterson hitting on 3 of his 4 attempts. Wofford also had 5 players score in double digits, led by Klesmit with 18 points, Larson and Isaiah Bigelow with 13, BJ Mack with 12, and Patterson with 11.
Probably even more impressive than that was the Terriers’ stifling defense. Wofford did an excellent job of guarding the perimeter and forcing UNC-G to try and drive the ball inside with little luck in the early going, which with the pace Wofford set, made it very difficult for Greensboro to keep up and establish any sort of rhythm. The Terriers forced 10 turnovers and logged 20 defensive rebounds on the night, holding the Spartans to just 40% from the field and 41% from 3 point range.
Monday night, Wofford took on the Mercer Bears in front of a national audience on ESPNU. It was a tightly-contested game all the way through with the Terriers coming up just short 67-62 thanks to a late run by Mercer and a scoring drought by Wofford. Ther Terriers led most of the game, leading 39-31 at the half and had a 9 point advantage, holding the Bears to around 40% shooting prior to going cold and not scoring a basket over the final 6:00 of the 2nd half. Mercer hit back to back 3’s out of a timeout, and followed that up with a freethrow and a jumper to tie it at 58 with about 3:00 to play. Wofford’s only points over the final minutes came from free throws by BJ Mack who went 4 of 4 from the stripe during that stretch. But, with the game on the line, it was the Mercer Bears that would come through in the clutch at the line. Trailing 65-62 with :04 to play, Wofford fouled Mercer’s best free throw shooter, and he did not miss, draining both of them to put the Terriers to bed. BJ Mack and Isaiah Bigelow led the charge for Wofford, combining for 26 points and 9 rebounds while Max Klesmit tallied 9 points and Ryan Larson and Morgan Safford both scored 8.
Wofford is now 13-10 overall, and 5-6 in the SoCon, which has them sitting in 5th place. The Terriers will look to find some consistency this week and right the ship in some very winnable games as they face East Tennessee State Saturday at 2:00 in Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, which can be seen on TV on the CBS Sports Network. They will then face the Samford Bulldogs Wednesday night at 8:00 in Birmingham.
Converse Drops 6th Straight
The Converse Valkyries dropped their sixth straight game on Tuesday night, 79-64 against Emannuel. Four players scored in double figures for Coach Saunders’ team, but it wasn’t enough against one of the top teams in the conference.
The Valkyries’ road struggles continued, as they once again were unable to get enough stops in the second half. After getting the score to 51-47, Emannuel went on a 16-3 run to put the game out of reach. Converse couldn’t get within ten points the rest of the way.
Sigurd Lorange once again led the team in scoring with 16 points, his eighth straight game in double figures. Jay Mitchell also had a nice game offensively with 14 points, including four three pointers made.
The Valkyries now sit at 5-13 overall, 4-10 in the conference. They will look to bounce back this weekend with two more games on the road. They are at Mount Olive on Friday night, and then play Chowan, the last team they defeated on Saturday afternoon.
Spartan Men’s and Women’s Teams Earn Big Wins
Both basketball teams at USC Upstate are having great success in conference play so far this year. Both teams have identical 6-2 conference records as of 2/22.
The men’s team sit tied for second place with Winthrop, trailing Longwood who is an undefeated 7-0 in conference play. This past week the Spartans dropped a conference game to Winthrop in overtime 95-91 before bouncing back to get a win at NC A&T 84-64 on Saturday. In the win the Spartans had 5 players score in double figures including Jordan Gasiney and Bryson Mozone who both had 19 points.
The Spartans will return to the hardwood this week on Wednesday at Hampton and then will return home on Saturday to take on the Campbell Camels at the Hodge Center.
The women’s team got a big win over conference leader Campbell on Saturday knocking off the previously unbeaten in conference play Camels 81-62. Upstate came out and punched the Camels in the mouth dropping twenty-two points in the first quarter against one of the best defensive teams in the country. Chellia Watson led the Spartans in scoring dropping 32 points in the win.
The Spartans followed up the big win by defeating Radford on Tuesday night 66-55. Again, it was Watson who led the way offensively with 20 points in the win.
Two more games this week are scheduled for the women’s team, home against Hampton on Thursday and on the road at Hampton on Saturday.