SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford SID) – With Wofford leading by one and 10 seconds left on the clock, Jordan Strawberry made a layup out of a timeout and the Mercer Bears handed the Wofford men’s basketball team a 69-68 loss at home on Sunday afternoon. The game was senior day as Wofford honored Derrick Brooks and Bobby Perez pregame.
With the loss, Wofford falls to 20-11 on the season and 11-7 in Southern Conference play, while Mercer improves to 18-13 overall and 11-7 in conference action. Mercer swept the season series, thus earning the tiebreaker over the Terriers and claiming the No. 4 seed. Wofford will be the No. 5 seed in the SoCon tournament.
Four Terriers finished in double-digits, led by Cameron Jackson with 17. Jackson shot 88.8% (8-9) from the field in 31 minutes of play. Fletcher Magee followed with 14 points on 4-14 shooting. Trevor Stumpe and Nathan Hoover added 12 points apiece. Stumpe led with six rebounds, while Hoover had six assists and no turnovers. Freshman point guard Storm Murphy tied a career high with eight rebounds and had zero turnovers.
Jackson put Wofford on the board first with a layup 15 seconds in then Mercer responded with a three on its first possession. Mercer took a 9-5 lead with 14 minutes left in the half. Wofford tied it at 13 on a three by Murphy and the teams swapped baskets the remainder of the half as there were five lead changes and eight ties in the period. Mercer led 32-30 at the break.
Jackson tied it at 32 out of the half. Tied at 34, Wofford used an 8-2 run behind a three by Magee, a jumper by Matthew Pegram and a three by Stumpe and jumped out in front 42-36. Up 45-38, Mercer went on a 10-0 run to take a 48-45 lead. Wofford tied it at 52 but then Mercer rallied off five straight to lead 57-52. Magee sunk a three with just under five minutes to go to give Wofford a 62-60 lead, the Terriers first lead in over 10 minutes of play.
The teams traded the lead until Hoover drove to the paint and put Wofford up 68-67 with 18 seconds to go. Mercer inbounded the ball, drove to midcourt, and called a timeout. Out of the timeout, Stephon Jelks found Strawberry under the basket on the inbounds pass and Mercer went up 69-68 with six seconds to go. Wofford got the ball to Magee who fired off a three that didn’t fall and the Bears escaped with the win.
Wofford had 19 assists on 26 made field goals and finished with just eight turnovers as a team. The Terriers shot 47.3% and allowed the Bears to shoot 50% from the floor. Mercer outrebounded Wofford 32-23 and got to the line six more times.
The game was the final of the regular season for the Terriers. Next up, Wofford heads to the Southern Conference tournament, held in Asheville from March 2-5. Wofford and Mercer will meet for the third time on March 3 at 2:30 p.m.