The Runnin’ Bulldogs (4-5) rebounded a missed free throw by the Terriers with 4.2 seconds on the clock, but turned the basketball over before getting it to half court. Wofford (3-4) picked up its first Division I win of the season in the process – using a late scoring flurry to create some space – and holding off Gardner-Webb’s last-minute rally.
Wednesday’s game proved rag-tag throughout, with neither team able to get consistent stops on the defensive end. The Terriers shot 52.2 percent for the game (24-of-46) and Gardner-Webb hit at a 51.1 percent clip (23-of-45). The two squads combined for 29 turnovers in a game that featured 14 ties and 11 lead changes.
After Gardner-Webb broke a 26-26 halftime tie with a 5-0 burst out of the locker room, Wofford slowly pulled even, and neither team led by more than three points until Gardner-Webb used a quick, 6-0 run to go up 47-42 on a pair of Josh Castellanos’ free throws with 9:06 to play in the game.
Wofford got five consecutive points from freshman Jaylen Allen, however, tying the game at 47 on a 3-pointer off an assist from Karl Cochran. Rookie Eric Garcia gave the Terriers the lead for good on their next possession, rattling in a 3-pointer of his own for a 50-47 advantage with 6:48 to play.
Those were the big blows in what would grow into a 17-5 run by the visitors over the next three minutes that put the game too far out of reach. The Terriers got inside for four layups during the run, which left the score 59-52 with just 3:06 to play after a Spencer Collins’ bucket from in close.
Gardner-Webb pulled back within three, but Wofford scored easily on an inbounds play with just one second on the shot clock and 1:29 on the game clock to go back up 61-56. That lead ballooned to eight on a Cochran free throw with 42.3 seconds remaining.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs attempted to catch up, getting two consecutive 3-pointers from Tyler Strange to pull within 64-62 with 17.3 seconds left – and taking advantage of a missed free throw on the other end to get the ball back with a chance to tie.
Ivey took a handoff and got off a shot, but it nicked off the front rim and the Terriers rebounded. Justin Gordon missed a free throw with 4.3 seconds left, but Gardner-Webb’s rebound was thrown away and Wofford ran out the clock.
Collins led the Terriers with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, mostly inside the paint – where the Terriers owned a surprising 34-20 advantage. Lee Skinner and Allen added 11 points each and Cochran came off the bench to score nine.
Gardner-Webb got a career-best 16 points from freshman big man Tyrell Nelson on 7-of-9 shooting, with much of his production coming on a nice array of mid-range jumpers outside the lane. Donta Harper added 13 points and 10 rebounds, Strange scored 14 and dished off seven assists and Jerome Hill returned from injury to supply 10 points.
Leading scorer Naji Hibbert endured a difficult night, going just 1-for-5 from the floor for two points in only 19 minutes of action.
Neither team shot well from the free throw line, with Gardner-Webb going 12-of-20 (60.0 percent) and Wofford 12-of-25 (48.0 percent).
Gardner-Webb will attempt to bounce back away from home Saturday, traveling to face The Citadel at 2:00 pm in Charleston, S.C. The game will air live on WGWG-FM (88.3 / wgwg.org).