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Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Countdown to March

Countdown+to+March

Terrier Basketball looks to finish the season strong as SoCon play wraps up

Terrier Basketball rolled through the month of January as both Men’s and Women’s Basketball had their schedules heat up with the long-awaited arrival of Southern Conference play. The men currently stand at 21-4 overall with a SoCon record of 13-0. They stand at 13-1 within Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium and had two games—Furman and Samford—in which Sophomore Point Guard Storm Murphy hit go-ahead shots when it counted the absolute most.  

However, Wofford’s success throughout the entire season is a testament to their depth and experience, both of which come after a 2017-18 season in which Wofford was the third-youngest team in the nation. With solid starters like Senior Forward Cameron Jackson, Senior sharpshooting Guard Fletcher Magee and Junior marksman Nathan Hoover, Wofford has been an incredibly formidable opponent whether at home or on the road.  

What cannot be ignored, however, are the amazing contributions of a variety of players off of the bench: Senior Center Matt Pegram, Sophomore Forward Chevez Goodwin and guards Tray Hollowell and Donovan Theme-Love among others. 

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Before the season, Head Men’s Basketball Coach compared this team to the 2009-10 Wofford team that won the conference and earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. That team featured a current member of Wofford’s coaching staff, Kevin Giltner, as a player. 

“We’re deep just like that team was, so every day is competitive. It’s competition throughout everything we do,” says Associate Head Coach Jay McAuley. “This team is probably the best scoring team that’s ever come through Wofford. We’ve got so many offensive weapons, and as they’ve blossomed defensively, you’ve seen how balanced this team can be even when we come off the bench with a couple of guys.” 

The team also recently returned Junior Guard Trevor Stumpe and has been starting Sophomore Forward Keve Aluma, who has been, as Coach McAuley describes, “our Dennis Rodman.” Aluma contributes seven points and seven rebounds per game for the Terriers. 

McAuley: [Keve] affects winning just as much as any leading scorer we have right now, and that’s the best compliment I can give that kid. When [our seniors] graduate this year, he’s going to have another role. He’s going to have to produce more, and he will do that because he’s really all about the team. … [Trevor] knew that he would be a little rusty, we knew that, but he had worked so hard that he was able to play 20-plus minutes versus Mercer in his opening game a week after being cleared. Those are the types of guys that Coach Young recruits—tough guys that are all about winning.” 

Wofford has certainly been all about winning, holding a top-10 spot in the nation in three-Point Field Goal Percentage and holding a top spot in the Southern Conference standings as March draws closer and closer. 

On the other side, Wofford Women’s Basketball currently posts an overall record of 11-12 and a Southern Conference record of 3-5 

After bringing in a remarkable seven freshmen, Wofford’s season has been riddled with injuries to key contributors like Sophomore Guard Anna Claire Atha and Freshman sniper Jackie Carman among others. However, that has not stopped the Terriers from posting a 9-1 record in Spartanburg. The team has been led by Sophomore Guard Da’ja Green, Junior Guard Cairo Booker, Sophomore Forward Jamari McDavid and Senior Center Marissa Bayer. 

Defensively, Booker and McDavid have been outstanding for the Terriers. Head Coach Jimmy Garrity cites McDavid as one of the best athletes in the entire SoCon and adds that Booker “is the catalyst to turn up the notch on our defensive pressure.” Booker averages 1.5 steals per game to go along with 9 points and 4 rebounds per contest. The Terriers have also been very effective this season when playing in transition, which is something that Coach Garrity enjoys being able to do with his team.  

Garrity: “We wanted to get more athletic to be able to play at a faster pace, to be able to play in transition, also to be able to guard differently, switch ball screens and switch positions on defense. … we’ve been able to do some things that we haven’t been able to do in the past like switch one through four and not necessarily always be fighting over ball screens, and that’s been really beneficial to us.” 

The team has also not been shy about stepping beyond the arc and shooting more long-range shots. Since the beginning of SoCon play, Garrity says, Da’ja Green has “really picked up her shooting.” Green shot 60% from three-Point Range in a win against Samford on Feb. 2. She has also reached the double-digit mark in assists in four of the team’s contests this season. 

McDavid and Bayer set the tone down low for the Terriers, with McDavid averaging 11 points and five rebounds per game this season alongside Bayer pitching in with about six points per game.  

The Terriers return home for a three-game home stretch on February 14, 16 and 23 when they face ETSU, Chattanooga and rival Furman, in that order. 

Coach Young’s team finishes up their home season on February 14 and 16 when they host VMI and UNCG, respectively. 

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