EditorsNote: Edit 1: Fixed word in 15th graf
Junior guard Nathan Hoover scored all 20 of his points in the second half, and No. 20 Wofford secured a 70-58 victory against UNC Greensboro in the Southern Conference tournament final Monday night in Asheville, N.C.
The Terriers, who joined Division I for the 1997-98 season, are headed to their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance (2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2019).
With conference Player of the Year Fletcher Magee having an off night at times despite producing 20 points for Wofford, Hoover took charge. Cameron Jackson added 15 points as the Terriers pushed their school-record winning streak to 20 games.
The Terriers used a late 15-0 run to charge into the lead on the way to a double-digit edge.
Wofford (29-4) is perfect in five appearances in the conference title game, most recently winning in 2015.
Francis Alonso’s 21 points and Isaiah Miller’s 19 points led defending champion UNCG (28-6), which was in the title game for the third year in a row.
Magee, the active NCAA Division I leader in 3-point baskets, shot 4-for-13 from long range. He is two shy of the NCAA career record of 504 held by Oakland’s Travis Bader (2010-14).
UNCG led 39-32 with 14 minutes to play. Hoover, who had been scoreless, pumped in the next five points, and the Spartans called timeout as the partisan Terriers crowd roared.
Hoover then made three free throws at the 12:30 mark for Wofford’s first lead. The Spartans went right back on top with a 5-0 run.
Hoover’s 3-pointer tied it at 55-55 with 4:07 to go. On the next possession, he was fouled again on a 3-point attempt and sank the three foul shots for the lead with 3:23 left.
After two Magee free throws, Hoover’s steal led to a pair of free throws.
Going into the game, it was a matchup of two of the country’s seven teams with 28 or more wins.
UNCG led throughout the first half, settling for a 31-27 edge at the break.
The Spartans started strong, building a 17-8 lead on the strength of points in transition.
Miller and Alonso accounted for 24 of the team’s first-half points.
This was the first time UNCG and Wofford met in the final.
Wofford won regular-season meetings by 29 and 30 points. Since the second meeting, UNCG rattled off six straight victories, including a pair of second-half comebacks in the tournament.
Aside from the Wofford games, UNCG’s other setbacks were road games against LSU, Kentucky and Furman — all nationally ranked teams at some point in the season.
—Field Level Media