– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
GREENVILLE, S.C. — At this time last week, matched up against one of the top teams in their league during their Senior Day, the Wofford Terriers put on another dominant performance in clinching the regular-season Southern Conference title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament that goes with it. On Saturday, Wofford moved one step closer to an achievement it hopes to secure in what is becoming, perhaps, the most special season in Terrier basketball on the hardwood: a perfect conference record.
Guard Fletcher Magee scored 23 points to lead all Terriers scorers as Wofford, seven days after a 30-point win against second-place UNC Greensboro, went on the road and defeated Furman 72-64 to remain undefeated in conference play and extend its program-record winning streak to 15 games.
Only Gonzaga of the West Coast Conference and the Terriers (24-4, 16-0 SoCon) came into today with unblemished records in league play, and Wofford was tested in the first part of the first half when the Paladins, who defeated 2018 Final Four participants Loyola Chicago and Villanova earlier this season, opened up a 21-16 lead with 10:53 remaining after a Jalen Slawson dunk.
Wofford’s defense took over from there, holding Furman scoreless for the next 5:35 as it went on a 9-0 run, capped off by a Donovan Theme-Love three-pointer. The Terriers quickly extended its lead to double digits before taking a 39-28 lead at intermission after a Cameron Jackson jumper with four seconds remaining in the half.
Magee, who scored 12 points in the first half, hit two big three-pointers in the final four minutes of the game to stunt a Furman run that saw the Paladins cut their deficit to five a couple of times in the second half. His second of those threes gave Wofford a 70-59 lead with 2:08 to go, effectively ending the competitive nature of the contest.
In defeating the Paladins, Wofford pulled off the season sweep of each of the three teams that occupy second through fourth place in the Southern Conference (UNC Greensboro, East Tennessee State, Furmam), with all of those teams having won at least 22 games overall and 11 conference games this season.
The Paladins (22-6, 11-5 SoCon) saw their six-game winning streak end as it fell to fourth place in the league. Forward Matt Rafferty led all scorers with 24 points, including 16 in the second half in leading the Paladins back into the game. Jordan Lyons had 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench while fellow reserve Clay Mounce added 12 points for Furman.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by Spartanburg-based (S.C.) photographer John Byrum. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 31 pictures in total.