Friday, January 30, 2015

Battle of league leaders in store for Saturday evening

Between their victory over UNCG last night and Chattanooga's overtime setback to Mercer, Wofford now finds itself in sole possession of first place in the Southern Conference. Tomorrow afternoon, though, there will be something on the line in Spartanburg.

For the Terriers, a win would mean another fine addition to the program's body of work, as well as increased separation from the rest of the league. Wofford (8-1 conf.) has won the last four consecutive games, against Furman, Western Carolina, East Tennessee St., and UNC-Greensboro. Wofford's latest win came in persuasive fashion, as the Terrier defense limited the Spartans to 32 percent shooting from the field and only 42 points.

On the other hand, Mercer will be looking to become only the second conference foe to take down the Terriers this season. The Bears, who stood at the top of the league standings until a shocking seven-point loss to Western Carolina -- a team Wofford bested by nineteen -- brought the Mocs/Terriers tandem to the leading slot.
Ike Nwamu leads Mercer with
sixteen points per game.

Wofford was left all alone in first place when Mercer, which had three scorers enter double digits --the same as Chattanooga -- out-dueled the Mocs in overtime, 75-72 on Thursday afternoon. Darious Moten led the squad with twenty-one, while Ike Nwamu added twenty and Phillip Leonard dropped eighteen. Nwamu, the big man from Greensboro, N.C., leads the team with an average of sixteen points per game. 

The Bears are a strong rebounding outfit, and T.J. Hallice, who had eight on Thursday, is tops on the team with an average of six per contest. Jibiri Bryan, Moten, and even Nwamu are strong threats on the glass themselves.

Probable starters for Mercer (7-2 conf., 12-10 overall):

G Phillip Leonard - 8.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 4.8 APG; shooting 50 percent from field
G Jibiri Bryan - 8.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.2 APG; shooting 79 percent from free throw line, leads team
G Ike Nwamu - 16.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 APG; leads team in points per game
F Darious Moten - 11.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.4 APG; leads team in three point shooting (59 percent)
F T.J. Hallice - 8.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.0 APG; leads team in rebounds, with 106 on the season

Key reserves: F Stephon Jelks, G Jordan Strawberry, G Jestin Lewis

Looking forward for the Terriers, it only grows tougher. This should be another excellent league matchup, and will prove to be pivotal in setting the tone for the remainder of the slate, which is studded with grudge matches for Wofford.

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