SPARTANBURG, S.C.(Wofford SID) – The Wofford Terriers men’s basketball team closed out an impressive double header for the Terriers on Saturday at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. After the women’s basketball team picked up their first ever regular season conference championship clinching win over Mercer, the men followed up with an 86-74 win over Chattanooga to secure a bye for the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament.

Wofford (16-15, 8-10 SoCon) honored seniors B.J. Mack, Messiah Jones, and Jonathan Steelman as well as manager Hank Grzeszczak before the game.

“That moment was great, just to see all the hard work that I’ve put in for three years here pay off,” said B.J. Mack. “Also seeing my guys Messiah and Jonathan get their flowers was great to see.”

“It was definitely special, just having this Wofford community and my family here,” said Messiah Jones. “Just ending it with a bang, is a special feeling that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”

“Messiah is the only guy on the team that’s been here since I came in so to be able to share that moment with him and B.J. as well,” said Steelman. “It was really special because I care a lot about those guys and was really honored to go out with them and Hank our manager, he’s one of my best friends.”

Mack responded with a game leading 19-point performance and Jones had nine boards which tied the Terriers for a game high. Steelman got the start along with his fellow seniors and was also able to dribble out the final seconds after subbing in to at the end of the game.

A very competitive first half saw the Terriers lead by as many as six points and the Mocs lead by as many as seven points, but Wofford was up 41-40 at the break.  Chattanooga had a three-point lead five minutes into the second half, but back-to-back three pointers by B.J. Mack as part of a 9-4 run gave the Terriers the lead. Mack scored 14 of his points in the second half.

The game remained within a possession until threes from Paveltezke and sophomore Carson McCorkle extended the lead to 70-63 with 7:41 to play. Free throws from sophomore Jackson Sivills extended the lead into double digits in the final four minutes and the Terriers kept the deficit there for the remainder of the game.

Freshman Jackson Paveletzke scored 18 points, good for second best on the Terriers, Corey Tripp added 16 points, and Jones had 14 as four players reached double figures. Junior Kyler Filewich added nine points and his nine rebounds tied Jones for a game high.

KC Hankton scored 14 points to lead Chattanooga (15-16, 7-11 SoCon). Demetrius Davis added 13 points and A.J. Caldwell added 11 points and tied for a game high with nine rebounds.

 “I told our guys, that game reflected the season,” said interim head coach Dwight Perry. “A lot of ups and downs. We came out and played well, they responded and went up. There’s a lot of people out there that probably think our team is going to pack it up. The reality is with what our program has been through, 99% of teams would pack it in and say we’ve done our job and nobody would fault them. I’ve never been around a more resilient group, and it was very symbolic that all three of our seniors played and created an impact tonight.”

Wofford will prepare to take on the three seed UNC Greensboro at 8:30 p.m. next Saturday night.

“The most important thing for us right now is get as healthy as we can and then after that the first couple days it’s about us,” said Perry. “Then we’ll turn our attention to UNC Greensboro. That’s the benefit of being able to get a bye, is we can start to hone in the last couple days before Asheville. But before we get to all that just appreciate the journey and take it all in and know this is not the end,” Perry said.

“This conference is special and each team is good in their own way,” said Jones. “There’s going to be a lot going on, playing for a lot. I feel like we just have to have the mentality of being the tougher, more together team, when we find a way to put that together for 40 minutes we are a dangerous team.”

“Going into Asheville we know that outrebounding our opponent is very crucial,” said Mack. “We strive for that every game, and with how tough we are no team in Asheville is going to see us right now.”

The Terriers will play Saturday and try to win three games in three days to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Quick Hits

  • Wofford shot 15-of-17 (88.2%) from the free throw line, Chattanooga shot 7-of-13 (53.8%).
  • Wofford led the rebounding battle 40-26 and was 15-11 on the offensive glass.
  • Wofford scored 22 second-chance points to only ten for the Mocs.