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Wofford defeats ETSU in Southern Conference opener

Jeff Birchfield • Dec 1, 2018 at 10:07 PM

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Wofford beat the East Tennessee State basketball team at its own game Saturday night in the Southern Conference opener for both teams at the Jerry Richardson Indoor Arena.

The Terriers won the rebounding battle, outscored the Bucs in the paint and in second-chance points to take a 79-62 victory Saturday night at Jerry Richardson Indoor Arena. Wofford did damage from the perimeter as well with the Terriers' All-Southern Conference player Fletcher Magee hitting five shots from 3-point range in a 24-point performance.

It snapped a five-game winning streak for ETSU (6-3), while Wofford (6-2, 1-0) extended its own winning streak to four games.

Magee ended any hopes of an ETSU comeback with a 3-point shot with 1:35 left. ETSU coach Steve Forbes, still fuming from a no-call at the other end of the court, had a heated argument with officials. As a result, he was assessed a double technical foul and ejected from the game.

"I thought Bo got fouled on the baseline and the ref swallowed his whistle," Forbes said. "The play before, (Wofford coach) Mike (Young) complained about a call to that same official. I felt he had his mind made up, so I started protesting."

Per Southern Conference rules, Forbes will miss the Bucs' next game against Reinhardt on Monday.

ETSU trailed 33-29 at halftime and fell behind by 14 points with 11:45 left. They expended a lot of energy during a second-half comeback in which they trimmed the deficit to just a single point (54-53) at the 7:08 mark. The Terriers answered by scoring the next eight points before pulling away big at the end.

Isaiah Tisdale shot 6-of-7 from the field to score 18 points and Patrick Good finished with 17 after making 5 of 7 shots. Hodges, back after missing the previous five games with a groin injury, ended with 15 points and five rebounds.

"We never really recouped from falling behind," Tisdale said. "They got it to about six and we were trying to keep our composure. Give Wofford credit, they're a good team 1-through-5, but we have to bounce back. You see the energy coach gave us at the end, showing he's fighting for us. We have to show that same energy."

As a team, ETSU struggled from the field, hitting just 21 of 55 shots (36.2 percent) and 11 of 22 (50 percent) from the free-throw line. Forbes called the performance at the free-throw line mentally weak, while Good felt it was one of the biggest factors in the loss.

"We didn't execute from the free-throw line and that really hurt us, shooting 50 percent," Good said. "If we hit our free throws, we would have been in the game. We've just got to bring our energy. It starts with practice. You can't just turn it on at game time. We have to hold ourselves accountable."

Magee was complimentary of the defensive efforts of Good and Hodges, who held him to eight points in the first half before he got hot-handed in the second half.

Wofford was able to shut down the Bucs' inside game. Jeromy Rodriguez scored five points on 2-of-12 shooting, while the other starting post, Mladen Armus, was 0 for 2 from the field and 2 for 6 at the free-throw line, held to a season-low two points.

In addition, the Bucs, who had come into the game with a 17-plus rebounding advantage against their opponents, were outrebounded by a 36-23 margin. It led to Wofford outscoring the Bucs 18-6 in second-chance points and 34-22 overall in the paint.

Wofford's Cameron Jackson had 12 points and eight rebounds, while Matt Pegram muscled his way inside for 10 points.

"We were non-existent in the paint," Forbes said. "They physically manhandled us. I thought they played through contact and scored and we didn't. When we got the ball and got contact, we put up a bad shot or turned it over.

"We have a lot of things to improve on. We got outrebounded by 13 and we're supposed to be leading the country in rebounding. A lot of that was they were wanting the ball more and they were tougher than we were. I was really disappointed in that."

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