Thursday, January 29, 2015

Terriers improve to 8-1 in league play with strong defensive outing

Wofford overcame an early deficit to dispatch UNCG tonight by a score of 58-42. The victory places the Terriers at 8-1 in SoCon play and 17-5 overall.

Some trends seen throughout the contest:

The Terrier defense continues to be impressive, as they held the Spartans to a woefully dismal 19-60 from the field. Leading scorer Tevon Saddler, who came onto the hardwood at Greensboro Coliseum averaging 16.3 points per game, was held scoreless (0-6 from floor, 0-2 from long distance). It was also a strong rebounding night for the Wofford defense, as they grabbed twenty-eight compared to eighteen from UNCG. Lee Skinner led in that discipline, logging five defensive boards, while Collins, Jackson, and Neumann all had four.

The relative success of the Terrier defense, though, brings me to another point. Wofford was savagely out-rebounded on the other end, as the Spartans grabbed seventeen to the visitors' mere three boards. Mike Young's squad turned the ball over fourteen times; while that mark is down from the eighteen committed in last week's slugfest against ETSU, it still leaves much room for improvement. "We've got to do something about that," coach Young said after the game. "That's very uncharacteristic of us...We'll be better on Saturday [against Mercer]."

One factor contributing to the lack of ball control was UNCG's interesting habit of starting off each half zippy and energized, playing at a nice tempo and forcing some Wofford errors. Those runs, however, eventually gave way to prolonged scoring droughts, poor offensive execution against the Terrier force, and a general lack of immediate coherence that is necessary to pull off a victory in tight circumstances.

After the aforementioned solid start from the Spartans -- they held a 12-2 lead at one point in the first half -- Wofford needed a spark off the bench to get things going early on. That mainly came in the form of Jaylen Allen, a Johnson City, Tenn., native that scored eight points in a non-starting role. C.J. Neumann was another impressive staple tonight, grabbing five boards, four of the defensive variety.

Cameron Jackson further displayed his potential as a strong player and possible future game-changer for the Terriers, who will be dealing with some hefty losses after this season. Both seniors on the staring five dipped into double figures on the scorecard, but it was junior Spencer Collins who led all scorers with fourteen points on the evening. Wofford shot 60 percent from the field tonight.

Though it may seem oft-repeated and tired, tonight's triumph -- which improved Wofford's record to 17-5 overall with a 8-1 league mark -- was another solid win in which the Terriers had to overcome a sluggish start. 

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