SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford SID) – The Wofford men’s basketball team prevailed against Mars Hill on Tuesday night in the Benjamin Johnson Arena, winning 79-76. Redshirt senior Ryan Sawvell recorded a career high in both points and rebounds to lead all players in both categories with 24 and 11, respectively. The double-double performance was the first of Sawvell’s Wofford career. With the win, Wofford improves to 2-5 on the season and Mars Hill falls to 2-5 with the loss.
Eric Garcia joined Sawvell in double figures as the senior point guard scored 12 points. Garcia set a season high with 10 assists, one shy of his career record, but good enough for a double-double, the first of his career. Fletcher Magee finished in double figures for the seventh consecutive game as the sophomore tallied 11 points in 30 minutes of action. Cameron Jackson finished with eight points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
The Terriers jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead as Eric Garcia and Fletcher Magee each knocked down a three-pointer and Ryan Sawvell added a layup. The Terriers maintained the lead or the teams were tied until Mars Hill took a 28-26 lead off a fast break dunk with 7 minutes to go in the first half. The Terriers tied it up again twice in the remaining minutes of the half but Mars Hill held on to the lead. Wofford trailed at half for the third consecutive game as the Lions took a 41-38 lead into the locker room.
Out of the half, Mars Hill added on to its lead with a jumper from Vernon Jackson. The Lions kept the lead until Cameron Jackson tied it up at 49-49 with 15:29 to play. Wofford led by seven with 3:39 to go in the game, but the Lions wouldn’t go away. Mars Hill clawed back and cut the lead to one with 1:01 to go in the game. With 16 seconds to go, Mars Hill had a chance to take the lead but Sawvell took a crucial charge to give the ball back to Wofford. The Lions fouled Jackson on the inbounds pass but the sophomore made two critical free throws to extend the lead to three. The Lions had two shot attempts until 10 seconds but neither fell and Wofford prevailed.
Mars Hill shot 58.5% from the field and Wofford shot 51.9% from the field. The game was tied 10 times, but for just the second time all season Wofford outscored the opponent in the second half to hold on. The teams were almost identical statistically as both teams had 32 points in the pain and both had 10 points off turnovers. Wofford had a slight 7-4 advantage on the fast break and a small 25-23 edge on points off the bench but one major difference was on second chance points where Wofford led 16-6.
Next up, Wofford takes on the University of Miami on Saturday, Dec. 3 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational. The game, scheduled for tipoff at 5:30 p.m., will be held at the AmericanAirlines Arena.