ASHEVILLE, N.C. – VMI’s four-game basketball win streak and season came to an end as #22 ranked Wofford defeated the Keydets 99-72 in the quarterfinals of the Ingles Southern Conference Basketball Championships Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Wofford placed six in double figures scoring and was topped by guard Nathan Hoover who scored 17 points including 13 after intermission. Also hitting double figures for the Terriers was Chevez Goodwin (14 points, 7 of 8 shooting), Keve Aluma (12), and Cameron Jackson, Fletcher Magee, and Storm Murphy each with 11 points.
The Terrier bench produced 37 points and Wofford controlled the boards 44-31 while shooting 56.3% from the floor.
VMI guard Bubba Parham, the SoCon leading scorer, led the Keydets with 22 points including four three-pointers and guard Garrett Gilkeson added 11 points. VMI concluded the season 11-22 which was the most wins in a season since 2014-15.
The Keydets, who rifled in 15 three-point shots in Friday’s first round win against Western Carolina, were limited to 27.6% beyond the arc and were 8 of 29 from long range Saturday.
The Terriers built a 22-point at the 8:41 mark of the first half but VMI responded to trim the margin to eight points as late as the final minute of the half. The Keydets trailed 48-37 at the break and again pulled within 48-40 after a Parham score, but that was as closed as VMI would come as Wofford later responded with a 14-2 run midway in the second half to take control.
Wofford won its 18th straight game and raised its season mark to 27-4.
Southern Conference Game Recap Release and Postgame Quotes
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – No. 1 seed Wofford put six players in double figures and shot 58 percent from the floor in the second half to blow open a tight game, downing No. 8 seed VMI 99-72 in Saturday’s first quarterfinal game of the Ingles Southern Conference Basketball Championship presented by General Shale.
The 22nd-ranked Terriers await either No. 4 seed ETSU or No. 5 seed Chattanooga, who square off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday for the right to advance. Sunday’s first semifinal contest begins at 4 p.m. and will air on ESPN+ and designated Nexstar affiliates.
Wofford scored the first 10 points of the game and led by as many as 22 in the first half at 38-16 before the Keydets came roaring back behind the leading scorer in the SoCon, Bubba Parham. The sophomore guard hit a 3-pointer and scored eight straight points to ignite a 17-3 run to get the deficit back into single digits at 41-33 with 2:28 left in the first half.
The spread remained eight until just before the half, but SoCon Player of the Year Fletcher Magee, who had been 0-for-5 from 3-point range to that point, hit a long triple at the buzzer to send the Terriers into the half up 48-37.
Parham hit another 3 out of the half to get VMI back within eight, but Magee answered with one of his own. A Sarju Patel layup made it a nine-point spread, but Wofford’s Storm Murphy countered with a jumper in the paint to spark a quick 12-2 run and the Terriers were firmly in control at 65-44 with less than five minutes gone in the second half.
Wofford’s lead never dipped below 15 the rest of the way and ballooned to 29 twice in the late going.
Nathan Hoover scored 17 points to lead Wofford, which also got 14 from Chevez Goodwin, 12 from Keve Aluma and 11 each from Magee, Murphy and Cameron Jackson.
Parham had a game-high 22 points for VMI, with Garrett Gilkeson joining him in double figures with 11.
No. 1 Wofford (27-4) | No. 8 VMI (11-21)
3 Notes to Know
- Wofford is in the semifinals for the fifth time in the last six years. The Terriers have won four of the last nine tournament titles.
- The Terriers extended their winning streak to 18 games, the second-longest active streak behind only No. 1 Gonzaga’s 20-game run
- VMI saw its season-best four-game winning streak come to an end.
3 Stats to Know
- VMI shot just 37.1 percent from the floor (13-for-35) in the second half after keeping Wofford in sight on 48.4 percent shooting (15-for-31) in the first.
- Wofford won the rebounding battle 44-31.
- 10 players saw at least 10 minutes of action for Wofford, which had 14 players see the floor overall
Head coach Mike Young
On Wofford’s depth and six players scoring in double figures
“We talk about ‘1A’ and ‘1B.’ I feel like we have 10 starters, 11 starters. What a luxury to sit (starters) through an entire media timeout. (The 1B) came in at the under-16 timeout and we didn’t put (the starters) back in until the under-12 timeout. We weren’t playing very well and that 1B came in and flipped the game for us with their tenacity and connectivity defensively. I think our ability to play 11 guys is a luxury.”
On performances of Chevez Goodwin
“There’s not a finer man in a Wofford uniform. He has a couple rebounds every game that I say ‘Golly day, that’s a man!’ Over the last two months, he’s been a pivotal player for us. He’s awesome.”
On what to work on the rest of the tournament
“Just playing good basketball, that’s all we ask. We’re not going to be perfect. Fletch (Fletcher Magee) is going to miss a shot tomorrow, I guarantee. We’re going to play a little bit better defensively tomorrow. We need to play better. We will play better.”
Senior guard Fletcher Magee
On not having to carry the scoring load
“Like Coach was saying, on any given night, we have a bunch of guys who can come out and get you. If a team’s denying me the ball or making it hard on me, we have so many other scorers who can score the ball so easily and so efficiently.”
Junior guard Nathan Hoover
On being the top-seeded team in the tournament
“We know everyone’s out to get us. We have so much energy and so much faith in each other that we know we can get it done every night. We know everybody’s going to give us their best shot, but we’re ready for everybody.”
Head coach Dan Earl
“Just to start off in case anybody wasn’t sure, Wofford is a very good team. It seemed like we ran into a buzz saw to start off the game. They were hitting us every which way. They’re obviously extremely hard to guard with the big guy, Cam Jackson, down low and then a variety of different shooters and they are deep as well. And, you look at programs and how they are run and they type of people that are around and you certainly have to have a ton of respect, I certainly do, for Coach Young, what he does and the whole Wofford program. And, he does it the right way. He’s a great guy and those kids all appear to have worked their tails off and got that program up and running. I wish them all the best going forward.”
On what makes Wofford a tough team
“The big thing is that they have an inside presence, certainly with Jackson, but also Keve Aluma who is a great rebounder and then they have all those guys on the perimeter that can knock down shots. It’s hard to defend the 3-point line and then play one on one with Cam Jackson down on the block. But not only that, they run a million different sets. They’re extremely difficult to guard. They’re well disciplined, tough kids, and they compete, so I can’t say enough about them across the board.”
Sophomore guard Bubba Parham
On defending Wofford
“It’s pretty tough because like coach said they have an inside and an outside game. You try and take one thing away and they go with the other, so you do the best you can and just live with the results.”