SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford SID) – Senior Spencer Collins scored a game-high 23 points to lead five Terriers in double figures and Wofford scored its most points of the season to defeat The Citadel, 99-89, Saturday night in Southern Conference men’s basketball action at Benjamin Johnson Arena.
Collins shot 9-of-16 from the floor, 3-of-6 from the perimeter, and showed off multiple offensive skillsets. He slashed through the lane on his way to the hoop, pulled up for mid-range shots and hit from the perimeter on a night where Wofford – the nation’s fifth-ranked 3-point shooting team – connected on just 5-of-16 attempts (31.3%).
The Terriers led by as many as 16 points in the early part of the second half. The Citadel used a 13-2 run to slice it all the way down to five, but Collins helped re-extend the lead on multiple occasions. His 3-pointer with 13:30 to play, free throws with 8:37 left and jumper with 6:05 on the clock all turned a single-digit game into a 10-point Terrier lead.
“We had to battle through some things on a night where we didn’t play as well as we have of late,” said head coach Mike Young, who moved into fourth in Southern Conference history with his 231st career victory. “They don’t all come neatly wrapped and packaged … We showed toughness and battled through some things that were out of our control. It’s a sign of a tough, veteran team.”
The win was Wofford’s fourth straight and sixth in its last seven games. The Terriers (14-13, 10-4 SoCon) played three straight games at home this week, defeating VMI on Monday and Mercer on Thursday. Coupled with an ETSU loss to Chattanooga, Wofford is now third in the Southern Conference standings.
“It was huge, absolutely huge,” Young added. “You’ve got to do that. It was a haul, but it was great to go 3-0. I really like how our team is playing and how we’re coming together at a very good time of the year.”
Wofford ended the night shooting 58.2 percent (32-55) and registered its three highest shooting games of the season during the three-game home week. The Terriers were a season-high 61.5 percent in Monday’s win against VMI and beat Mercer on Thursday by shooting 55.8 percent.”
“It’s a big deal,” Young went on to say. “Opposing teams go on the road and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. That’s the environment you expect to see and that you hope to have. Our fans certainly meant a lot to us here this evening and all season long.”
A big boost to Wofford’s shooting night was first-year transfer Ryan Sawvell, who tied his career-high with 16 points on 8-of-10 from the floor. It was the most points Sawvell has scored in a Wofford uniform, last scoring 16 as a sophomore at Evansville. Freshman Fletcher Magee scored 15, senior Justin Gordon scored 14 and senior C.J. Neumann notched his second career double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds Both of Neumann’s double-doubles this year have come against The Citadel.
Eric Garcia didn’t have one of his best scoring nights, but was a key contributor on offense. The junior point guard registered a career-high 11 assists, marking the most by a Terrier since Jason Dawson had the same amount in 2009 at Navy.
For The Citadel (10-17, 3-11 SoCon), Derrick Henry matched Collins with 23 points. Henry was 7-of-9 from the floor, 2-for-3 from the arc and hit another 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Warren Sledge and Brian White scored 13, while Quayson Williams came in with 11. The Bulldogs shot 47.8 percent as a team.
The Terriers play their sixth game in 12 days on Monday, traveling to Greensboro, N.C. to take on UNCG. Tip is set for 7 p.m. from Greensboro Coliseum.
– Spencer Collins tallied his eighth 20-point game of the season.
– Ryan Sawvell’s 16 points were the most of his Wofford career and tied for his career-high from his sophomore season at Evansville (2012-13).
– Five Terriers scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 6, 2014 in a home game against Florida National.
– Eric Garcia’s 11 assists were the most by a Terrier in seven years.
– Mike Young passed Bill Reinhart (George Washington, 1935-42/49-66) for fourth in Southern Conference coaching victories. He is now 231-205 (.530) in his career.
– Wofford shot a combined 58.5 percent in its three home wins this week.
– Wofford won its third straight series meeting against The Citadel and increased its all-time series lead to 55-47.