SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford SID) – The Wofford men’s basketball team faced Western Carolina on Saturday night, falling to the Catamounts 80-74 at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium.
The Terriers shot 45.3 percent from the floor but just 27.3 percent from 3-point range, while Western Carolina shot 55.8 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from behind the arc. Wofford won the turnover battle, forcing 16 while committing just eight, but was outrebounded 32-21.
Western Carolina’s offense was led by Carlos Dotson and Mason Faulkner, who scored 25 and 23 points, respectively, while Nathan Hoover totaled 19 for Wofford.
“Credit to them, they made the right plays at the right time,” said Wofford head coach Jay McAuley. “It wasn’t until about the five-minute mark in the second half that we were as connected as we needed to be defensively. We popped back in those last five minutes which led to some critical runs, but just allowed Western Carolina to be a little too comfortable and they are a really good ball club.”
After dropping its third straight game, Wofford now sits at 16-11 overall, falling to 8-6 in SoCon play while Western Carolina moves to 16-9 (8-6 SoCon). The Terriers return to action on Wednesday, traveling to UNCG for a matchup with the Spartans at 7 p.m.
“We need to hit the reset button, and we will,” said McAuley. “We got competitors in our locker room and guys that want to win. I love coaching my team and I know our guys are going to battle every day.”
Wofford moved the ball right off the start, scoring the first 10 points capped off by a spinning layup by Stumpe that forced a Western Carolina timeout. The Catamounts responded out of the break, going on a 9-0 run of their own before Murphy found Messiah Jones for a slam and took one coast-to-coast to make it 14-9.
“The team we are, and the team we need to be is those first four minutes of the game,” McAuley said. “We had energy and we had life and we were connected on both ends.”
The two teams traded buckets, until a Matt Halvorsen three put Western Carolina ahead 22-21 with 7:30 remaining in the first. Hoover began to direct the offense scoring and finding Murphy and Stumpe for 3-pointers that put Wofford ahead 34-32. Hoover knocked down a trey of his own but Faulkner responded with a three just before the buzzer to give the Catamounts a 39-38 lead at the break.
Ryan Larson opened up the half with a layup but Western Carolina answered with an 11-3 run to go ahead 50-43. Wofford clawed back, and a pair of threes from Isaiah Bigelow gave the Terriers a 57-56 advantage at the 12:37 mark. The Catamounts began to feed Dotson, who made the score 70-64 in favor of Western Carolina.
The Catamounts stretched the lead to eight with just under two minutes to play as the teams traded free throws. A pair of buckets from Stumpe and two free throws from Hoover made the score 78-74 with 13.5 to play, but Western Carolina rank the clock out for the victory.
“The second half wasn’t a lack of effort, McAuley said “It was just a lack of making plays. They made some shots and we didn’t and that’s the game of basketball sometimes.”