Spartanburg Sports Report

Terriers Move to Second Round

By Scott Keeler/For The Spartanburg Sports Report

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Wofford’s Fletcher Magee scored 20 of his game-high 24 points in the second half as the fifth-seeded Terriers downed No. 4 seed Chattanooga 79-67 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament at U.S. Cellular Center.

Wofford (16-16), which used a 48-point second half to snap a five-game losing streak against Chattanooga, advances to face No. 1 seed UNCG in Sunday’s semifinals at 5 p.m.

“It wasn’t anything I sprinkled on them at the half,” Wofford coach Mike Young said. “We didn’t have a grand plan, we just went out there and played. (Our players know) that if you got it, let it rip. They don’t need me to tell them that.”

In the first half, UTC keyed on Wofford’s All-SoCon first team backcourt of Eric Garcia and Magee and held them to 10 points combined. The Terriers were tied 31-31 at the half though thanks to an unlikely contributor.

Pressed into duty when Cameron Jackson got in early foul trouble, reserve center Matthew Pegram had eight points in the opening half. Pegram entered Saturday averaging 4.9 points per game.

Jackson finished with six points and seven rebounds. Along with Pegram’s first-half contribution, they helped the Terriers negate what had been a matchup problem with the longer Mocs in the past.

“Big men can take a little bit more time than guards to come into their own, but both have helped our team,” Young said. “They’ve done nice things throughout the season. Fourteen points and 10 rebounds (combined) out of your five? Those are pretty good numbers that will help you win.”

The Terriers came out firing in the second half. Magee hit a jumper and Garcia followed with a 3-pointer, a steal and a lineup as Wofford took a 38-31 lead less than two minutes into the half.

Two minutes later, back-to-back 3-pointers by Magee and SoCon All-Freshman honoree Nathan Hoover pushed the lead to 10. Chattanooga cut the lead to four with 10:12 left, but got no closer.

Magee and Garcia went a combined 6-for-6 from the foul line over the final 1:11 to seal the win and set up a third meeting with UNCG. In the regular season, Wofford beat the Spartans by 19 in Spartanburg on Jan. 25 and lost to them by 19 in Greensboro on Feb. 15.

“I think we will see a close game because we got them pretty good at our place, and they sure got us bad at their place,” Magee said. “I think we we’re definitely going to remember that last time we played them and how it felt.”

Garcia had 18 points, five assists and three steals, while Hoover finished with 17 points for Wofford, which shot 59.3 percent from the floor in the second half. The Terriers made 10-of-23 3-pointers (43.5 percent) and 17-of-19 free throws (89.5 percent).

Tre McLean had 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the reigning SoCon champion Mocs. Justin Tuoyo had 13 points also for Chattanooga (19-12).

No. 1 UNCG 76, No. 9 The Citadel 67

In Saturday’s opening game, top-seeded UNCG survived a scare, rallying for a 76-67 win over No. 9 seed The Citadel. R.J. White had 21 points, including 14 in the second half, to lead the Spartans (24-8).

Trailing 39-35 at the half, UNCG took off after Citadel big man Ezekiel Balogun was whistled for his fourth foul just 70 seconds into the second half. With Balogun on the bench, Citadel had no answer for White and James Dickey inside.

Dickey had 19 rebounds and White 12 for the Spartans, who outrebounded the Bulldogs 51-36. UNCG had a 40-14 advantage on points in the paint.

Zane Najdawi had 18 points to lead Citadel (12-21). Balogun, who fouled out with 3:23 left, finished with seven points and 10 rebounds in 15 minutes of action.