Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wofford regains composure, knocks off Mercer

The Terriers continued rolling through the SoCon slate, winning their fifth straight in a too-close-for-comfort matchup with Mercer. With the 49-46 triumph, Wofford is now 9-1 in conference play, with an 18-5 overall mark.

Some trends seen throughout the contest:

This wasn't Wofford's normal laggard start; sure, the Terriers, in keeping with recent memory, began the game utterly ice-cold from the field. Damages from this, though, were a bit more extensive than usual. Wofford was limited to 29 percent shooting and just twenty points -- the lowest amount since the December dismantling at the hands of West Virginia.

Lee Skinner and Spencer Collins combined for the majority of Wofford's first half points. A noteworthy performance was that of C.J. Neumann, who grabbed eight rebounds in the game, a superlative mark. Things began to heat up for the Terriers within the final minutes of the first half, and much of the second half became somewhat of a seesaw battle with the Bears, who stood intimidatingly substantial in stature.

Wofford staged a 7-0 run to take a brief lead early in the second half, and stayed within four points of Mercer throughout the remainder of the contest. Collins led the Terriers with eleven points, while Skinner had nine along with six rebounds, a mark matched by Karl Cochran, who went an uncharacteristic 3-15 from the field.

Ironically enough, with the stark difference between the two halves, both Wofford's and Mercer's shooting percentages evened out (essentially 36 percent each). Both squads also posted an identical percentage from long distance (23.5 percent). Wofford controlled the offensive glass, with fifteen rebounds compared to Mercer's thirteen. The Bears had a two-rebound edge on the other end.

Only one Mercer scorer reached double digits, Ike Nwamu (10 points), who entered the matchup averaging sixteen points per game. It was a great rebounding day for T.J. Hallice (leads team) and Jibiri Bryan, who both grabbed eight boards. Phillip Leonard added seven rebounds. The Terrier defense held Mercer to twenty points in the second half -- returning the favor, in a sense.

One of the things Mike Young referred to in his postgame interview after the UNCG victory -- the turnover debacle -- was not a very severe issue this evening, as Wofford only coughed the ball up four times. Meanwhile, the Terriers scored ten points off of Mercer's nine turnovers.

It's no real surprise that the stats reflected this contest as a very even matchup, one that saw nine lead changes and four ties. Wofford now stands alone on top of the Southern Conference standings, staying the only club in the league with just one conference setback. Mark this one down as another test, rough as it may be, passed.

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