Saturday, February 7, 2015

Terriers survive late charge from VMI, secure twentieth win of the season

This afternoon in Lexington, Va., the Terriers improved to 11-1 in league play and 20-5 overall with an awfully-close 65-62 victory over VMI.

Some trends seen throughout the contest:

Talk about two sharply contrasting halves of basketball. Wofford came out moderately hot on the shooting front and tight on defense, only allowing the Keydets to break twenty points with about four and a half minutes to go before the break. Karl Cochran, who ran into a relative slump the past few contests, led the squad with fourteen points and six boards. The senior from Marietta, Ga., shot 6-9 from the floor, including a 2-3 mark from long distance.

Yes, the Terriers' 42-24 lead over VMI at halftime seemed to resonate as a fiercely strong start, almost a little uncharacteristic of Wofford's recent style of play -- slow starts and rough finishes. The latter part of that characterization, though, would unavoidably come to pass. After the Keydets had cut it to 58-51 with a little over six minutes to play, VMI notched the next nine points after a Wofford basket, effectively knotting the game at 60-60.

In the final seconds, a few critical things occurred; first, C.J. Neumann, who missed four free throws in the second half against ETSU on Thursday, connected on two foul shots to lengthen the perilous Wofford advantage to five points. Meanwhile, VMI's Julian Eleby turned the ball over twice in the last 46 seconds of the ballgame.

The Terriers escaped Lexington, Va., with a 65-62 victory. Not only does that place Wofford at 11-1 in conference play, but it skyrockets Mike Young's squad into stellar company -- the Terriers are among just thirteen teams in the nation with twenty or more victories on the season.

Cochran ended his afternoon with a double-double, recording a team-high eighteen points and twelve boards, ten of the defensive variety. Spencer Collins was the only other Terrier to reach double digits with ten points, while Lee Skinner (9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), Justin Gordon (7 points, 4 rebounds), and Eric Garcia (6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists) followed behind to round out the starting five.

C.J. Neumann (6 points, 3 rebounds) and Jaylen Allen (5 points, 3 assists), as usual, led off the bench. Wofford, which shot a combined 41.4 percent from the field, was a mere 3-11 on three-point shots. The Terriers committed eleven turnovers, but exchanged VMI's mistakes for eighteen points. An interesting stat to note is that both squads grabbed 28 defensive boards, and weren't awfully far apart on the offensive glass (VMI 12, Wofford 8).

In conclusion, this one saw another sort of collapse in the final minutes, but the Terriers again showed they have what it takes to punch in a league victory on the road. "I'll take it any way we can get it, and we got it," coach Young said in the postgame. "...We'll move along. ... We just passed a nice test." Cardiac Terriers, anyone?

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