College Corner 2/16
Upstate Men Hit Rough Patch; Winning Streak Ends for Women
After starting the conference slate with a 7-2 record the Spartan’s men’s team has dropped three in a row in the Big South Conference. With losses to Campbell, Longwood, and Asheville the Spartans have dropped to 7-5 in the Big South with 4 games remaining in the regular season.
In the loss last week to conference leader Longwood the Spartans shot the ball very well with a FG percentage of over 55% for the game, however the Lancers still came out on top 85-72. Three Upstate players scored in double figures with Jordan Gainey leading the way with 16, Bryson Mozone added 14 and Josh Aldrich had 11.
In the loss on Saturday the Spartans shot just 40% from the field and only Mozone and Mysta Goodloe garnered double figures. Jordan Gainey was held without a bucket in the game as the Spartans lost to the Bulldogs 83-56.
Upstate will try to end their losing skid at home on Wednesday with a 6pm matchup against conference foe Presbyterian. The Blue Hose enter the game 11-16 over all and 3-9 in the Big South. When these two teams met earlier in the season at PC the Spartans earned an 82-72 victory over the Blue Hose.
On Saturday the Spartans will head out on the road to face Charleston Southern.
The Women’s team saw their 7 game win streak come to an end with a 75-59 loss on the road to the defending conference champion High Point Panthers.
Rachel Rose had another big game in the loss tallying 15 points and Chellia Watson also had 15 points in the game.
The Women’s team also won another award this past week in the form of a freshman of the week nod from the Big South. No it wasn’t Rachel Rose again, this time it was Terah Harness.
Last week Harness averaged 15 points hitting 13 three pointers in three games and shooting nearly 50% from the field.
The Spartans look to start a new winning streak this week and it is off to a good start as they defeated Presbyterian in a thriller on Tuesday at home and will face the Blue Hose again Wednesday night in Clinton.
Valkyries’ Drop Two
The Converse Valkyries’ skid continued this past week, as they fell at Barton College 75-67 on Friday and 83-71 at Francis Marion on Saturday. They then battled hard on Monday night, but dropped the rematch with Barton by a score of 80-72. They now sit at 5-19 overall and 4-16 in Conference Carolinas.
Converse jumped out to an early 11 point lead against Barton on Monday, but were unable to sustain it against a Bulldogs team that shot 54% for the game. Converse played well offensively with four players finishing in double figures, including a double-double by Freshman Eli Pitts who finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Valkyries’ shot 48% from the floor including knocking down 11 threes, but they just couldn’t get the stops they needed down the stretch. Coach Saunders and his team will have a quick turnaround as they play at Erskine on Wednesday night, before traveling to Southern Wesleyan on Saturday.
Terriers Split Pair of Conference Games
It was yet another interesting week for Wofford as they split a pair of Southern Conference games to once again set themselves up at .500 in conference.
Wednesday night, the Terriers went down to Alabama to take on the Samford University Bulldogs. This game was not one for a lot of offensive fireworks in the first half. The Terriers held their fellow canine counterpart to 9 of 24 from the field and just 1 for 9 from three point range (that is 37.5% fieldgoal percentage and just 11% from behind the arch). Wofford did not fare much better. The Terriers shot 34% from the floor. The difference maker was that Wofford shot 4 of 17 from downtown and was a perfect 7-7 at the freethrow line.
The second half is where things got interesting. Wofford had done an excellent job defensively in the first half, including containing Samford’s team-leading scorer Quez Glover to just 4 points, 2 for 6 from the field. In the 2nd half, they continued to force Samford into a lot of bad shots and misses. However, the Bulldogs turned the tide of the game. Samford had 10 offensive boards in the second half for 11 2nd chance points, compared to just one offensive rebound in the 1st half. Part of that was due to the fact Wofford’s leading rebounder, Isaiah Bigelow was ejected in a controversial moment that really swung the momentum of the game.
After the Terriers had built up a 37-31 lead at the under 16 media timeout, Samford’s Quez Glover came up with a steal and was going on a fast break down the court. Ryan Larson came in and tried to strip him but ended up just reaching in and making contact without playing the ball, which would later be ruled a flagrant 1 technical. Glover continued down the court going for what would have been an easy dunk if not for Isaiah. Bigelow charged after him and came in to make a great leaping play on the ball as Glover went up to block the dunk. Where things quickly went wrong was that 2 Samford players got up in Isaiah’s face after the whistle and resulted in a talking and pushing match at the baseline. Bigelow was given a double technical for his really mild retaliation (just a slight push with his forearm to get the first guy out of his face), which resulted in his ejection from the game. Samford took immediate advantage, as Glover nailed the ensuing freethrows and then came back after a turnover with a stepback jumper, capping a 7-0 run to cut the Wofford lead to just 2.
The Terriers built back up to a 9 point lead before they went ice cold with about 6:00 to play in the game. Wofford turned the ball over 4 times and was held scoreless for 4 minutes (turnovers plagued them all night, with 18 of them for 22 Samford points), allowing the Bulldogs to go on a game-changing 9-0 run. The game would end up going to overtime tied at 54 after Max Klesmit tied it at 54 with a pair of clutch freethrows with 6 seconds to play.
Overtime did not get off to a strong start for Wofford, as Samford went on an 8-3 run out of the gate in the OT period. The Terriers gnawed their way back to make it a 1 possession game when Max Klesmit drained a 3 to make it 62-60 with a little over a minute left. But, in the end, Samford pulled away for a heartbreaking 65-60 win to snap Wofford’s 9 game win streak in the series with the Bulldogs.
The Terriers were led by BJ Mack with a double-double, tallying 20 points and 10 rebounds. Max Klesmit was also in double figures with 15 points, including going 7-10 from the charity stripe.
Saturday, Wofford had a great shot at getting back on the horse and rebuilding their confidence as a struggling Western Carolina came to town, and after the heartbreak they experienced at Samford, they needed it in a bad way.
Things got off to an even slower start than they did Wednesday night, as over the first 4 and a half minutes of the game, the Terriers were 1 of 4 from behind the arch and just 1-1 on field goal attempts. They trailed 6-5 at the first media timeout. It is typical from Wofford to start slow since that is the style of offense they play – slow paced and aggressive when they get open looks. But, this was still an extra slow start. At the 2nd media timeout, the Terriers led, but only 13-10, at that point 1 of 6 from range and just 4 for 4 in the paint.
Out of the media timeout, the Terriers began to struggle with turning the ball over and getting offensive rebounds. They lost the rock 6 times for 7 Catamount points and only had 3 offensive boards for just three 2nd chance points. By the under 8, the game was tied at 21. The Terriers led by as many as 6 in the 1st half twice, but their streakiness plagued them and allowed WCU to get right back in it using their effective three point shooting. Wofford did manage to go on an 8-3 run over the final 3 minutes of the half highlighted with back to back 3’s from Ryan Larson and took a 36-31 advantage to the locker room.
The Terriers came out firing in the 2nd half, going on a 17-6 run that ultimately put the game away. In the end, Wofford used 14 points off 11 Catamount turnovers and 27 defensive rebounds to hold Western Carolina to just 35% from the floor on the night (the lowest fieldgoal percentage they have held any conference opponent to all season) and just 5 of 19 from downtown in the 2nd half to help cruise back to .500 in the SoCon with a 69-57 win.
BJ Mack recorded his 2nd consecutive double-double, leading Wofford with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Max Klesmit tallied 13 points, including going 3-8 from behind the arch (marking 11 games this season with 3 or more treys, in which the Terriers are 9-2). Sam Godwin had 12 points off the bench, going a perfect 4 of 4 in the paint as well as 4-4 from the charity stripe.
Wofford, now 15-11. 7-7 in the SoCon and sitting tied with UNC-Greensboro for 4th in the standings, will make the trip to Charleston on Wednesday for a 7:00 tip-off with the Citadel with a shot at finally getting over .500 in league play. Saturday, they will hit the road for a rivalry tussle with Furman with tip set for noon.