GREENSBORO, N.C. (Wofford SID) – The Wofford men’s basketball team fell 71-67 at UNCG in the Terriers’ Southern Conference opener on Saturday afternoon. The Terriers led by 14 at the half but were held scoreless for over seven minutes in the second half, and the Spartans outscored Wofford 38-20 in the second half of play to make the difference.
With the loss, Wofford falls to 8-5 on the season and starts Southern Conference play 0-1, while UNCG improves to 10-4 and 1-0 in conference action. The loss ends Wofford’s five game win streak and is the Terriers’ first in the month of December (4-1).
“We’ve got a chance to have a really good basketball team,” said head coach Mike Young. “Going up 14 at the half, you expect to win that game but we will go back and look at it and continue to get better. UNCG has a good outfit and has good players. But, so does my bunch and we are going to move on from here and give ourselves a good shot.”
Wofford played a brilliant first half of basketball. The Terriers shot 60.7% from the field and an even better 61.5% from three, although the Spartans lead the conference by holding opponents to 27.7% from beyond the arc. Wofford had 10 assists and just two turnovers and held Preseason All-SoCon pick Francis Alonso to eight points. Tied 29-29 with 6:14 left, Wofford closed the half on a 19-4 run and took a 47-33 lead into the locker room. Fletcher Magee had 21 first half points on 7-11 shooting and 6-8 from deep.
The script flipped out of the half as UNCG came out hot and began chipping away at the deficit. Wofford scored on a layup by freshman point guard Storm Murphy with 15:27 to go and the lead at 12, but the Terriers didn’t score again until Trevor Stumpe sunk a three with 8:04 left in the game, leaving over seven minutes without a basket as Wofford went 0-9 in the span and UNCG had a 15-0 run.
The Spartans took their first lead, 55-54, with 10:23 left and didn’t trail again. The Terriers cut UNCG’s lead, as large as seven with under four to go, to two on a three by Murphy with 1:18 left. Wofford was forced to foul and UNCG went 4-6 from the line down the stretch to seal the victory. Unlike the first half, Wofford had 12 turnovers to just four assists and shot 30.8% from both the field and from three.
Magee was held scoreless in the second half but still recorded his SoCon leading 10th 20+ point game of the season. Cameron Jackson, the Lute Olson Award National Player of the Week, finished with 12 points, eight boards, three blocks and two steals in 33 minutes of action. Stumpe joined the pair in double-digits with 15, one shy of tying his career high.
Wofford outrebounded UNCG 31-28 though the Spartans entered the game leading all conference teams in rebounding margin (+6.1), offensive rebounding percentage (33.1%), defensive rebounding percentage (78.5%) and second in offensive rebounds per game (11.8). Wofford had more points off rebounds, 19-11, but UNCG scored outscored Wofford 28-4 off the bench.
Wofford returns to Spartanburg for the next four contests, three SoCon games and a final non-conference matchup with Harvard. Next up, Wofford hosts VMI on Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. Then, The Citadel comes to town on Jan. 6, Harvard on Jan. 10 and Furman on Jan. 13.