SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Behind a game-high 24 points from senior Spencer Collins, the Wofford men’s basketball team put an impressive end to its brief Southern Conference losing streak by taking down first-place East Tennessee State University, 87-73, Thursday night at Benjamin Johnson Arena.
Wofford (9-12, 5-3 SoCon) used an 11-0 run to grab the lead and ended the first half by outscoring ETSU (13-8, 6-2 SoCon) 28-7 over the final 8:11. The Terriers took a 44-28 lead into the locker rooms and never looked back. They padded it to as many as 21 on two separate occasions, the final time coming off an Eric Garcia 3-pointer to make it 77-56 with 4:27 remaining. The Buccaneers trailed by double digits the entire second half.
“We were hungry. We were starved and we needed something good,” said head coach Mike Young, whose Terriers lost each of the previous two SoCon games by a single point. “It’s how you respond … and it’s been encouraging. ETSU is very talented and very well coached. We knew we were going to have to play a good ball game and we did. It may have been our best defensive effort to date, and against a [team] that can really score the ball.”
Collins entered the game averaging a league-best 21.6 points per game in Southern Conference play. He boosted those numbers Thursday night, doing most of his work at the charity stripe where he was 10 of 13. The senior from Easley, S.C., was also impressive from the 3-point arc, going 4-for-6 in the game to up his season average from distance to 46.2 percent.
Joining Collins in double figures were senior Justin Gordon with 15 points, Garica with 12 and freshman Fletcher Magee with 10. It was Gordon’s largest scoring output since December 3 against Kentucky Christian. Garcia added a game-high five assists. Senior C.J. Neumann led all players on the glass with eight rebounds.
For ETSU, redshirt senior transfer Ge’Lawn Guyn scored a team-high 18 points, but was limited to just 6-for-17 (35.3 pct.) from the floor and a 1-for-7 mark for long range. Sophomore Desonta Bradford had 17, while seniors Petey McClain and Lester Wilson scored 10.
Wofford shot 48 percent to outpace ETSU’s mark of 40 percent. More importantly, the Terriers buried nine triples to just three for the Buccaneers, who entered the game averaging nearly eight a game. Wofford also sank 24-of-29 (82.8 pct.) free throws. ETSU went 18 for 26 (69.2 pct.).
MORE TO FOLLOW…
– Mike Young moved into a tie for fifth place in Southern Conference history in coaching victories. Young earned his 226th win and is now tied with both Eddie Cameron (Duke 1928-42) and Bobby Cremins (App St. 1975-81, College of Charleston (2006-12).
– Collins scored in double figures for the ninth consecutive game and notched his seventh 20-point game of the season.
– Garcia scored in double figures for the fifth straight game. He also recorded his 16th career 5-assist game.
– Wofford’s 14-point victory is its largest in series history against ETSU. The previous high was an 11-point win on December 3, 1964 in Johnson City, Tenn.
– The Terriers won their fourth straight series meeting against ETSU. Wofford’s winning streak dates back to 2005.