Wofford pulls away late to win at Presbyterian 76-49


Wofford Basketball

CLINTON, S.C. (Wofford SID) – The Wofford men’s basketball team erupted in the second half, shooting 76.2 percent from the floor (16-for-21) and hitting 13-for-13 of its final looks from the field in the contest, to drop Presbyterian (7-6) at the Templeton Center on Saturday afternoon, 76-49.

Wofford held Presbyterian to 37.5 percent shooting for the contest, as sophomore Max Klesmit led five Terriers in double figures with 21 points, followed by junior Isaiah Bigelow with a season-high 14 points. The win pushes Wofford to 8-4 overall, while Presbyterian drops to 7-6 on the season.

Wofford finished the contest 55.1 percent overall from the floor (27-of-49), including hitting 12-of-25 from beyond the arc (48%), while holding the Blue Hose to just 1-of-18 from beyond the arc for game (5.6%) – in which Wofford was allowing 7.4 threes per game on 39.5 percent shooting prior to Sunday’s contest.

“That’s the number I’m most proud of,” said head coach Jay McAuley of holding the Blue Hose to 1-for-18 shooting from beyond the arc. “We’ve been really really bitten by some guys that have come in that haven’t shot the percentage that they’re accustomed shooting, and that’s on us. All we’ve been talking about is making guys miss and rotating to hit [on box outs].”

“We gave up zero offensive rebounds [in the first half] to one of the most elite offensive rebounding teams we’ve played and, in the country, they’re top-15,” added McAuley. “We gave them seven in the second half but, to hold them to one three, I was really really proud of that and you see what that does to our offense. It coincides and blends in to the other.”

Wofford received 13 points off 13 Presbyterian turnovers, while besting the Blue Hose in bench points (29-4), points inside the paint (26-24) and second-chance points (6-5).

Klesmit recorded his 10th game in double figures and third 20-point performance this season, hitting 6-of-11 from the field, including four 3-pointers, and 5-of-6 from the line. Klesmit has tallied three or more 3-pointers on five occasions this season, as he also added three rebounds and two steals.

“I thought he’s the one guy that sometimes can just make a play, you know, and he’s not afraid of that,” added McAuley of Max Klesmit. “We need that in pockets. And he wishes he had some plays back that we’ll iron out, but man, did he have some really good starters for us, in terms of our runs.”

“He’s automatic from the free-throw line. He’s really good at getting to the paint, he’s starting to see the game even better, and he was really good defensively,” added McAuley of Klesmit’s production. “He led our team with 10 deflections, which is unbelievable.”

Isaiah Bigelow recorded a season-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, to pair with four rebounds and a steal in 25 minutes. Sophomore forward Sam Godwin tallied 11 points and six rebounds, while B.J. Mack (4-5 FG; 2-2 3FG) and Austin Patterson (3-5 FG; 2-3 3FG; 2-3 FT) each contributed 10 points apiece.

Ryan Larson tallied a game-high six assists in 32 minutes, marking his fifth performance of at least five assists this season.

Wofford opened its first double-digit lead of the contest after using an 11-0 run to hold a 26-13 lead by the 5:11 mark of the first half.

After a B.J. Mack and-one hook shot gave the Terriers a 15-11 lead early on, Bigelow would corral a tip-in layup off a missed Safford 3-point attempt to get the run started. A Safford tip-in layup ensued prior to Max Klesmit drilling a three to beat the shot clock on a baseline out-of-bounds play, 22-13. Klesmit would then go on to cap the run after burying a consecutive trey from Austin Patterson and hitting a free throw for the 13-point margin.

PC used a five-point spurt to climb back within single digits (26-18), though, Safford would find Austin Patterson down the baseline for a corner 3-pointer, followed by Patterson converting 2-of-3 free throws at the line after being fouled on a three, to send Wofford into the locker room with a 31-20 advantage.

The Terriers continued to push their lead coming out of the break, using a 6-0 run on back-to-back 3-pointers from Max Klesmit and B.J. Mack to push a 39-23 edge two minutes in. Klesmit free throws kept the 16-point margin (43-27), while an 8-0 Presbyterian run then summoned a 43-35 spread by the under-12 media timeout (11:15).

A tough drop-step layup from Mack and timely 3-pointer from Patterson pushed the lead back to double figures, 48-35, as a trio of consecutive 3-point makes from Patterson, Bigelow and Klesmit, along with a Biglow layup, pushed a 54-42 margin with 8:08 to play. The Terriers then clamped down defensively to bust its first 20-point margin after an 11-1 run, capped by a B.J. Mack 3-pointer, to lead 65-43 by the 4:43 mark.

From there, the Terriers proceeded to knock down their next four attempts from the floor, seeing consecutive treys from Ryan Larson, Luke Turner and Isaiah Bigelow (74-47) before a Corey Tripp layup concluded Wofford’s scoring to ultimately come away with the 76-49 decision at the end of regulation.

PC was led by Rayshon Harrison and Trevon Reddish-Rhone with 15 and 13 points, respectively, as the Blue Hose shot 18-for-48 for the afternoon (37.5%) and finished 12-of-17 at the free-throw line (70.6%).

Wofford (8-4) concludes the nonconference slate with its final nonconference road matchup prior to Southern Conference action, as the Terriers will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face Duquesne on Wednesday, Dec. 22. Tip-off is slated for a 3 p.m. start at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse to be streamed on ESPN+.

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