Sunday, December 14, 2014

Historic victory over N.C. State years in the making

Wofford fans were taken through a journey of countless emotions during Sunday's non-conference tilt with N.C. State.

Throughout the first half, things occasionally looked hopeful for the Terriers, which were taking part in their first contest in over a week. After all, the Wolfpack only held a 33-28 advantage at the halftime break. Just like every other game this season, Mike Young's squad had a certain air of confidence and an impressive work ethic to back it up.

Would it, however, be enough to top N.C. State, an ACC power that had already dispatched eight other teams, and in a severely hostile territory, for the 'Pack hadn't lost a 'heritage game,' as it was called, in Reynolds Coliseum since they ceased regular play there nearly fifteen years ago?

For a second there, it looked as if it would. Then, it looked like it wouldn't. So, how did the Terriers tip the scoreboard in their favor? It certainly seemed as if it wouldn't happen.

After all the fighting throughout the second half to get back into the game, Wofford had whittled the Wolfpack's lead down to a minuscule margin, and even took a brief lead at one point.

The final portion of the matchup was decidedly back-and-forth, and the Terriers took a 55-54 lead when Justin Gordon found himself free for a layup when his defender broke away to double-team Spencer Collins. With only 1.9 seconds remaining on the clock, the air in the historic arena became tense, and both schools' fan bases collectively held their breath in antagonizing anticipation of the Wolfpack's final shot.

Trevor Lacey received the in-bounds pass and proceeded to make his way across the length of the court, throwing up a shot as the buzzer sounded. It swished through the net, and Wolfpack nation exploded. The television broadcast's on-screen scoreboard pertly read, N.C. State 56, Wofford 55 - Final.

Grief at the apparent heart-breaker couldn't be curbed, even if the referees were to extensively review the game-winning basket and overturn it. Wait, what?

Yes, that's what happened. Replays showed the ball departing from Lacey's grasp about a tenth of a second too late. Wofford had won. They had defeated the 'Pack for the first time since 1934.

It took a while for it to sink in. A once-in-a-lifetime triumph can only be achieved in a crazed, once-in-a-lifetime fashion, right?

For Mike Young's Terriers, though, you might just want to expect it a little more often.

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