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Georgia Tech Basketball Preview: Wofford

Oct. 6, 2017

THE FLATS – Georgia Tech and Tennessee will meet for the 17th time on Dec. 6, but it will be the first time the teams have met on Wofford’s home court in Spartanburg. All of the prior meetings have occurred in Atlanta, the last two at McCamish Pavilion. This is the final game of a three-game series the teams have contracted to play, and the Yellow Jackets have won 10 in a row against the Terriers. This is the ninth in a series of previews of the Yellow Jackets’ non-conference opponents.

Location: Spartanburg, S.C.
Conference: Southern (SoCon)
Home arena: Richardson Indoor Stadium (3,500)
2016-17 Record: 16-17, 10-8 in the SoCon (Fifth)
Post-Season: Lost to UNCG in the second round of SoCon Tournament, 77-73
NCAA Tournament Appearances (Last): Four (2015)
All-time series record: 14-2, Georgia Tech (last meeting in 2016)
Head coach: Mike Young (15 Seasons)
Starters returning/lost: 3/2
Top scorer returning: Fletcher Magee (18.6)
Top rebounder returning: Cameron Jackson (5.7)

Quick preview for 2017-18

A historically good Southern Conference team that hasn’t finished lower than fifth overall in the league or division in nearly 20 years, Wofford has the pieces once again to remain solid. Despite back-to-back sub-.500 seasons, head coach Mike Young will look to get back to where his team was just three years ago when the Terriers won their fourth SoCon Championship in a six-year span.

Wofford lost its top rebounder and second-leading scorer from last year in Ryan Sawvell and Eric Garcia, but returns a host of talent in Fletcher Magee, Cameron Jackson and Nathan Hoover. Magee led the Terriers in offense (18.6 ppg) and Jackson was second on the team in boards (5.7 rpg). With both of them just juniors this season, Wofford is set to have two more years of their leadership and is poised to give its tough non-conference teams headaches.

Quick recap of 2016-17

Highlighted by a four-overtime thriller against Samford late in the year, Wofford was able to finish fifth in the league and make it to the second round of the SoCon Tournament before ultimately falling to UNCG. Wofford actually took three teams into overtime on the season, losing to The Citadel and Samford (in the first meeting) – two games that most likely would have affected a tight top-half of the conference standings.

With three players averaging in double-figures offensively, the Terriers had an even attack that worked through the entire season. However, where the team had trouble was in bench production. Only one player off the bench averaged more than 3.8 points per game. Per usual, the team scheduled a tough non-conference slate that consisted of Georgia Tech, TCU, LSU, and Miami (Fla.). While those losses piled up, it did prepare them for a 10-8 record once back in SoCon play.

Greatest Program Accomplishment

Wofford made program history when, after a 26-9 season (15-3 SoCon), it earned its first NCAA postseason berth in 2010. Starting out the season 3-6, few would have thought that the season would end in the NCAA Tournament, but the Terriers won 16 of their last 17 games to enter the SoCon tournament on a roll. There, the team made easy work of UNCG and Western Carolina before edging out Appalachian State in the championship game by five points to earn the historic berth.

The Terriers were led offensively by Noah Dahlman, who averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting a blistering 57.9 percent from the field. Dahlman scored in double-figures 35 times during the season and finished with a streak of 48 games with 10 or more points. On the rebounding side, Tim Johnson led all big men with 7.9 per game.

Wofford played a tight game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament only falling to fourth-seeded Wisconsin, 53-49, in Jacksonville, Fla.

Greatest player in program history

Largely considered the best player in Wofford history and a dominant big man, James “Daddy” Neal played for the Terriers from 1949-53 and led the team with his 6-11 frame. For his career, Neal ranks third all-time in scoring with 2,078 points. During his career, he set the school records for most points in a game (57) and season (750) as well as scoring average in a season (32.7 – highest in the nation) and career (23.3). However, where Neal really made his name was in the paint. Neal holds the school record for rebounds in a game (40), season (609) and career (1,521).

A member of the Wofford and South Carolina Athletics halls of fame, Neal was drafted sixth overall by the Syracuse Nationals in the NBA – one of two players selected in program history. He played two seasons professionally with the Nationals and one for the Baltimore Bullets.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

If you have any interest at all in the outdoors, then just a short drive out of the city will land you at Glendale Shoals, a community nature preserve. With its scenery and walking trails that surround many areas where students, locals and tourists are often seen taking advantage of the fresh air. One of the most popular habits of Wofford students is hanging an Eno by the river and getting homework done.


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