Things were looking rather nice for the visiting squad; they had overcome another -- yes, another -- laggard start and continued to enjoy strong performances from stalwarts like Karl Cochran, who logged twenty-three points, including seven from long distance. Spencer Collins brought a shade of encouragement to the outfit by becoming the third player on the current roster to cross the millennium mark of career points. A pleasant surprise was brought in the form of John Swinton, a Mt. Pleasant, S.C., native in his second consecutive start for an injured Eric Garcia.
Everything was looking up for this team, who had repeatedly tested opponents' ability to successfully rally against the Wofford charge. A lead that was once fourteen points, however, was gradually whittled away by a zealous Bulldog squad, playing in front of a frenzied crowd of cadets at Charleston's McAlister Fieldhouse.
Leading that home surge was Ashton Moore, senior point guard who scored twenty-one of his twenty-eight points in the second half. However, the Suffolk, Va., native was just one piece of the puzzle for the Bulldogs, who outscored Wofford 16-6 in the final five minutes of the contest en route to a 69-66 triumph.
|The last time Wofford and Western Carolina met, it was|
for the 2014 Southern Conference title.
JEREMY BREVARD/USA TODAY PHOTO
Despite the demoralizing setback, the Terriers have no time to sit and hang their heads. Only one full day separates the loss from a game that Western Carolina has been waiting on for nearly a year. That would be Saturday's encounter between the Terriers and Catamounts -- an effective rematch of the 2014 SoCon tournament final, a matchup that sent a victorious Wofford squad to the NCAA dance for the third time in five seasons.
Western Carolina, on the other hand, was faced with a scare of their own as James Sinclair, who led the squad in points and assists per game, was deemed academically ineligible earlier this month. However, the Savannah, Ga., native was reinstated this week.
Point guard Rhett Harrelson is a mainstay, as the Enterprise, Ala., native leads all active players with an average of 15.2 points per game. Mike Brown, junior shooting guard, is close behind with about thirteen a game, along with a five rebound average.
Justin Browning is the starter at power forward, while junior Torrion Brummitt, standing at 6-7, is the big man at center, averaging about twelve points a game.
It will be interesting to see how the Terriers will adjust and bounce back from a devastating loss, their first of the league variety this season. Obviously, the conference schedule -- we knew we would get the best shot from any opponent faced -- is taking a toll and leaving things like fatigue and injury in its wake. The road, though, does not get any easier to travel. It's time for the Terriers to buckle down and put the loss behind them.