Wofford Falls at Mercer, 73-65

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford SID) – The Wofford men’s basketball team suffered a 73-65 loss at Mercer on Saturday afternoon in Hawkins Arena. The loss drops the Terriers to 16-8 on the season and 7-4 in Southern Conference play, while Mercer improves to 11-13 overall and 4-7 in conference action with the win. Wofford has lost back-to-back games for just the second time all season and first time in conference.

Fletcher Magee, the conference leader in points per game, led Wofford with 23 points. Cameron Jackson battled foul trouble but added 13 points and four rebounds in just 18 minutes of play. Trevor Stumpe set a new career high with 10 rebounds, a team high, and earned his first career double-double as he added 12 points in 33 minutes. Nathan Hoover finished with seven points, five rebounds and two assists in the loss. Freshman point guard Storm Murphy dished out three assists and didn’t commit a turnover.

First half action was back and forth to begin. Wofford trailed 9-5 with 14:01 to go but then used a 16-0 run over six minutes to jump out to a 21-9 lead. Mercer answered with an 11-0 run behind three crucial threes and pulled within one, 21-20, with 2:34 left. Wofford held on to take a 26-24 lead into the half.

There were eight ties and 12 lead changes in the second half of play. With 15:57 to go in the game, Hoover hit a jumper to put Wofford up five, but the Bears responded with a layup by Desmond Ringer and a three by Ross Cummings to tie at 36. From there, neither team led by more than two until Marcus Cohen made a jumper and a free throw to put the Bears ahead by three, 58-55, with just over five minutes left.

Wofford took a 59-58 lead when Jackson made two free throws, but again the pesky Bears answered with back-to-back threes from Cummings and Demetre Rivers to regain a five point lead. In the final four minutes, the Bears outscored the Terriers 14-6 and made three threes in the span to keep Wofford at bay. Mercer shot 72.7% from deep in the second half (8-11), while Wofford was just 3-13 (21.4%) in the same span.

The Terriers shot 35.7% from the field in the game and allowed the Bears to shoot 46.3%. Mercer made three more threes than their season average entering the game, thanks largely in part to a career high 22 points from Cummings. The sophomore entered the game averaging 4.6 points per game but went 8-10 from the field and 6-8 from three to propel the Bears. Mercer turned 11 Wofford turnovers into 15 points.

After two roads games in 48 hours, Wofford returns home for the next Southern Conference contest when the Terriers host Samford on Wednesday, Feb. 7.