Wofford 56, Xavier 55

CINCINNATI, Ohio  -  The Wofford men's basketball team hit key free throws in the final minutes of the game to take a 56-55 win over Xavier on Saturday afternoon at the Cintas Center. The game was tied with eight seconds left, but Lee Skinner hit a free throw and the Musketeers were called for a charge on the final possession to give the Terriers the victory.

Wofford moves to 6-6 on the season, while Xavier is 7-4. The Terriers were led by Karl Cochran with 20 points, while Spencer Collins added 17 points, including 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Lee Skinner had eight rebounds and seven points. The Musketeers were led by Travis Taylor with 20 points and eleven rebounds, while Semaj Christon had ten points.

"That was pretty wild but all of these non-conference games prepare us for the Southern Conference in January and February," said head coach Mike Young. "It was unbelievable for a freshman in Spencer Collins to go to the line and make two late in the game under that kind of pressure. The team defense was pretty good tonight. A win in this facility, where they do not lose very often, against one of the elite programs in college basketball is huge. All the credit in the world goes to our team to follow a plan to perfection and make enough plays to win it."

The Musketeers scored first, but back-to-back threes by Spencer Collins and Karl Cochran gave the Terriers a 6-2 lead two minutes into the game. Xavier answered with six straight points, but Wofford regained the lead on a bucket and free throw by Indiana Faithfull for a 9-8 score at the 15:29 mark.

Xavier used a 10-0 run to take an 18-9 lead at the ten minute mark of the first half. Karl Cochran ended the run with a jumper, then cut the lead to 21-14 with a three pointer with eight minutes left on the clock. Two free throws by Spencer Collins made it a five point game, but the Musketeers had a 9-0 run for a 30-16 lead before a lay-up by Spencer Collins ended the run at the 3:52 mark. Collins and Karl Cochran added jumpers to cut the lead to 30-20 with ninety seconds remaining. At the half, Xavier had a 34-22 lead.

To open the second half, Aerris Smith scored on a lay-up. After a Lee Skinner lay-up, the Terriers had cut the lead to 36-28 with 16:39 on the clock. Karl Cochran was fouled on a three pointer and hit all three free throws to make it a 36-31 score. A three by Karl Cochran made it a two-point game at 36-34, then a three by Spencer Collins with 14:00 on the clock cut the lead to 40-37. Taylor Wagener added a three which tied the game at 40.

Wagener hit two-of-three free throws to tie the game at 42 with 11:30 left in the second half.  After neither team scored for over five minutes, the Terriers tied the score at 44 with a lay-up by Lee Skinner. With 3:21 remaining, the Musketeers had a 47-46 lead. A three pointer by Spencer Collins from the wing gave the Terriers a 49-47 advantage with three minutes left.

Karl Cochran hit a jumper from the free throw line to give Wofford a 51-47 lead with just 1:37 remaining. The Musketeers cut it to a two-point lead, Spencer Collins hit two free throws. Xavier answered with a three pointer for a 53-52 score with 13.1 seconds on the clock. Lee Skinner hit both free throws in a one-and-one situation to take a 55-52 lead with eleven seconds left. Xavier's Brad Redford hit another three with six seconds left to tie the game at 55. Lee Skinner hit one of two free throws for a one-point lead. The Musketeers drove the ball down the floor, but Semaj Christon was called for a foul, with Spencer Collins taking the charge for the Terriers with two seconds left. Wofford got the ball inbounds and the final horn sounded in the 56-55 victory.

Wofford shot a 36.2 percent from the floor while Xavier shot 47.8 percent overall. The Terriers were 7-of-17 from with three, while the Musketeers were 3-of-11 from behind the arc. Wofford was 15-of-17 from the free throw line, while Xavier was 8-of-16 from the line. The Musketeers had a 32 to 29 lead on the glass. Each team had 13 turnovers.


College of Charleston 60, Coastal Carolina 51

CHARLESTON, S.C. -  Sophomore Anthony Stitt scored a season-high 22 points as the College of Charleston rolled over Coastal Carolina, 60-51, in non-conference holiday basketball action held on Saturday afternoon at TD Arena.

The Cougars (7-4) put together back-to-back home wins after defeating Old Dominion on Dec. 18. Coastal Carolina (4-6), who were just three days removed from a 23-point victory over Clemson on Dec. 19, never led in the contest and trailed by as many as 22 points late in the second half of play.

Charleston's defense limited Coastal Carolina to 38.3 percent shooting (18-of-47) and outrebounded the Chanticleers, 37-28.

Stitt's 22 points were due to effective outside shooting as he hit three three-pointers and made aggressive moves in the lane. Stitt knocked down a career-high seven free throws on nine attempts and shot 66.6 percent from the floor. He also dished out a season-high seven assists and had a steal.

Redshirt junior Willis Hall played well in the paint, snatching a game-high four offensive rebounds and scoring eight points. He helped CofC hold an 11-6 edge in second-chance points.

Junior reserve Nori Johnson had eight points with two treys, and senior Andrew Lawrence tallied seven points, three assists and three steals. Sophomore big man Adjehi Baru tied a career high with three blocks to go along with five boards and four points.

The Chanticleers were paced by Kierre Greenwood's 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. El Hadji Ndieguene scored 14 points and had three rebounds. Big South Conference leading scorer Anthony Raffa and sophomore starting guard Warren Gillis were both held to zero points in the game.

Neither team was especially efficient at the beginning of the game as both squads went nearly five minutes without scoring from the 17:10 minute mark to 12:22. Three-pointers from Stitt and Lawrence built a nine-point CofC lead at 15-6 with 10:10 remaining in the half. Coastal cut the lead to six points (18-12) after an elbow jumper from Ndieguene with 7:01 remaining.

However, the Cougars clamped down on defense and allowed just three points over the next six minutes. Greenwood and Ndieguene each hit shots in the final minute to cut the Cougars' lead to 26-19 at halftime.

CofC pulled away in the second frame thanks to five three-pointers that punctured the Chanticleer zone. A trey from Nori Johnson put CofC up 37-25, and then Stitt hit three free throws on a fouled trey and then knocked down a three-pointer to extend the Cougar lead to 16 points at the 9:11 minute mark.

Another Stitt three-pointer with 3:44 remaining helped put the game away as the Cougars took a commanding 58-36 advantage. The Cougar bench was only able to manage two points the rest of the way, and the Chanticleers were able to chip off the final margin.


Appalachian State 78, Presbyterian 70

BOONE, N.C. - A 17-5 run to close the first half proved to be the difference in Appalachian State University men's basketball 78-70 win over Presbyterian on Saturday afternoon at the Holmes Center.

With the victory, Appalachian State (3-8) enters an eight-day Christmas break with wins in two of its last three games. Presbyterian, whose ledger includes losses to Clemson, Georgia Tech, Creighton, Wisconsin and Tennessee, fell to 2-10.

The game was close throughout much of the first half until Appalachian went on the 17-5 run over the final 3:48 of the period to stretch a three-point lead into a commanding 44-29 halftime advantage.

Hot shooting from three-point range and a big advantage on the boards helped stake the Mountaineers to 15-point halftime lead. The Apps shot 51.9 percent from the field, including a blistering 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from beyond the three-point arc, and outrebounded the Blue Hose, 19-8, in the opening 20 minutes.

In the second half, it was Presbyterian's turn to light it up from beyond the arc, as the Blue Hose made 7-of-12 three-pointers (58.3 percent) after the break and pulled within four points with less than 30 seconds to go on Jordan Downing's fourth trey of the game. However, Appalachian's Tevin Baskin drained 4-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the triumph.

Baskin's clinching free throws capped a terrific performance for the junior-college transfer from Stamford, Conn. In 28 minutes off the bench, Baskin matched team highs with 16 points and eight rebounds and added two steals, a block and an assist while making 9-of-10 shots from the charity stripe. Senior Nathan Healy also had 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds for the Mountaineers.

Jamaal Trice also scored 12 points in a reserve role to help stake the Apps to a 37-18 advantage in points off the bench. Mike Neal rounded out four Mountaineers in double-figures with 10 points.

Presbyterian was led by a game-high 21 points from Jordan Downing, who nailed 4-of-9 shots from beyond the arc. Khalid Mutakabbier scored 11 points but no other Blue Hose player finished with more than nine.

The Mountaineers grabbed 34 rebounds while Presbyterian snagged just 24 and was limited to two offensive boards. On the day, Appalachian shot 43.4 percent (23-of-53) from the floor while the Blue Hose connected on 47.8 percent (22-of-46) of their shots.


Georgia Southern 63, Mississippi Valley State 52

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Georgia Southern Men's Basketball opened its trip to Las Vegas with a 63-52 win over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday afternoon at the Orleans Arena. The Eagles withstood a late MVSU run and finished the game with an 8-0 run of its own in the waning minutes.

"I'm very proud that we responded when they threw a haymaker late and got the victory," said Head Coach Charlton "C.Y." Young. "In the first half we really played the game the way we should play. In the second half, we took a lot of quick shots and that knocked us out of our flow."

Eric Ferguson led all scorers with 19 points and seven rebounds as the junior moved within five points of becoming the 39th member of the 1,000 point club at Georgia Southern. Ferguson, however, was fouled out with 3:52 remaining as the Statesboro native played just 25 minutes in the contest.

Point guard C.J. Reed scored 12 points on an 8-of-8 afternoon from the free throw line. He also grabbed a season-high eight rebounds with three assists in the victory. Tre Bussey had 10 points with four assists.

The Eagles' duo from Miami Norland High School Cleon Roberts and Marvin Baynham scored nine and seven points, respectively in the winning effort. GSU took care of the rebounding glass by out-rebounding the Delta Devils 40-29. Georgia Southern scored 36 points in the paint, the highest total for the Eagles against Division I opposition this season.

The Delta Devils were led by 15 points from Matt Smith while Darius Tomlin scored 10 points, all in the second half. MVSU's leading scorer, Davon Usher was held to 10 points, limiting the Devils' offensive options.

GSU carried a 33-19 lead into the halftime break as MVSU had its lowest scoring first half of the season. Immediately out of the break, GSU posted its largest lead of the game, 16 points, with 19:26 left in the game.

The Devils cut into the lead, trailing by five points with 11:58 remaining. Over the next five minutes GSU got the lead back to 10 points twice, but saw the Delta Devils get within three points at the 3:52 media timeout.

From that point on it was all Georgia Southern as the Eagles out-scored the Delta Devils 8-0 down the stretch. A layup from Baskerville as well as a second-chance deuce from Baynham got the job done from the field while Reed made four free throws for the victory.


Elon 70, Columbia 69

NEW YORK - It was déjà vu in the Big Apple for the second time in three years tonight, Dec. 22, inside Levien Gymnasium, as Jack Isenbarger channeled his inner Chris Long and hit the game-winning shot to lift the Elon men's basketball team to a 70-69 win over the Columbia Lions.

Trailing by two with 17 seconds left and the clock winding down, Isenbarger connected on a deep three from the right wing with 2.3 seconds remaining and a Columbia defender in his face to give the Phoenix a 70-69 lead.

Columbia's Brian Barbour had a chance for the game-winner in the final moments, but his baseline jumper rimmed out as the buzzer sounded and the Phoenix managed to escape Columbia with yet another buzzer-beating win. It was two seasons ago that former Phoenix point guard Chris Long provided the late-game heroics for the Phoenix in a 70-69 win over the Lions.

"I'm so proud of the way our guys fought tonight and I wouldn't have been in a position to hit the shot without my teammates," Isenbarger said. "We were looking to give Austin [Hamilton] a shot at driving to the lane, but I managed to slip out from the corner and he found me and somehow the shot went in."

Isenbarger finished the night with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from long distance.

Lucas Troutman put the Phoenix on his back for most of the night, as the junior from Belton, S.C., ended the night with a season-high 23 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field. Troutman has scored in double figures in 11 straight games.

Ryley Beaumont was just short of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards, while also recording a game- and career-high three blocks.

"We didn't get a good look in the final seconds, but Jack knocked it down and it's a great team victory," said Elon head coach Matt Matheny. "Everybody that played tonight scored and contributed in a big way. I'm pleased with the way we broke out of our shooting slump and shot the ball from the floor tonight as well. It was a great basketball game to be a part of and I'm so proud of the way our guys fought and grinded out a win."

Elon shot 50.8 percent from the field in the win, its best performance in a game since hitting for 52.5 percent against Bridgewater on Nov. 13.

Troutman put a strong Elon contingency in the stands on its feet with less than 12 minutes remaining after Isenbarger found the junior forward on a fast-break for a thunderous dunk to pull the Phoenix back within one, 16-15, forcing a Columbia timeout with 11:13 left.

Tied at 28-all with 4:01 to play, the maroon and gold closed the half on a 10-2 run to claim a 38-30 lead at the break. Troutman connected on a baseline jumper in the waning moments to give Elon momentum heading into the locker room, scoring a game-high 14 points in the first period.

Elon shot 52 percent (16-of-31) from the field in the opening frame, including a 4-of-9 clip from beyond the arc. The Phoenix outrebounded the Lions, 17-16, in the first half. The Elon bench was key in the opening half, as Ryan Winters and Kevin Blake both scored four points, while Tanner Samson tallied three for the Phoenix.

Troutman pushed Elon's lead out to 11 points with less than 16 minutes to play in the second half after gliding through the lane for a jumper in the paint to make it a 47-36 game.

But Columbia's Steve Frankoski led the charge for the Lions to pull his team back to take a 53-51 lead with 10:15 to play after connecting on his second of five three-pointers in the final frame. The Lions went on a 17-4 run over a five-minute stretch to reclaim the lead.

Frankoski and Barbour had a chance to potentially ice the game down the stretch for the Lions, but each missed the front end of their 1-and-1 free throw attempts to keep the lead to two points, 69-67, with 17 seconds left. Frankoski led the Lions with 20 points, while Barbour finished with 12 assists.


Wake Forest 84, UNCG 70
 

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Despite a game-high 25 points from junior guard Trevis Simpson, the UNCG men's basketball team suffered an 84-70 loss to Atlantic Coast Conference foe and Triad rival Wake Forest Saturday afternoon at the Greensboro Coliseum.

"I was pleased with our effort tonight after not having consistent efforts in the last two games," head coach Wes Miller said. "Our guys really tried tonight, but we are not playing good basketball as a group right now and I have to figure out a way to get us on a better track. I really believe if we continue to try to do it right and our guys stay bought in to what we are doing, we are going to be okay as we move on through the year."

Simpson connected on 10-of-18 from the field, including two three-pointers, as he scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half. He has scored in double figures in all 10 games this season and has scored at least 20 points in four games.

Senior guard Derrell Armstrong and freshman forward Kayel Locke also scored in double figures with 16 and 10 points respectively. Locke scored all 10 of his points in the second half while Armstrong connected on 5-of-10 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers.

The Demon Deacons (6-5) hit 27 of their 51 attempts from the field (53 percent) while the Spartans drained 25 of 59 - including 8 of 21 from beyond the arc. Wake Forest also had a distinct advantage from the foul line where it was awarded 32 free throw attempts as compared to just 15 for UNCG. The Demon Deacons capitalized, knocking down 23 of those tries while the Spartans hit 12.

Wake Forest was led by Travis McKie who scored a team-high 19 points as one of four players in double figures for the Demon Deacons. Chase Fischer added 13 points off the bench as he hit 4-of-5 from the field, including all three of his three-pointers.

The Spartans and Demon Deacons battled back and forth for most of the first half, trading baskets to stay within two possessions for most of the half. UNCG took a 27-26 lead at the 2:24 mark of the half as sophomore Nicholas Paulos scored five straight points, including a three-pointer in transition Simpson found him open on the wing on the break.

Wake Forest responded with 10 straight points as it closed the half on a 12-2 run to take a 38-29 lead into the locker room. C.J. Harris scored four points in the run while Chase Fischer nailed a three-pointer late in the half from the corner to give the Demon Deacons their largest lead of the half.

UNCG connected on 40 percent (10-of-25) from the field and 37.5 percent (3-of-8) from long range in the first half. Simpson led the Spartans with nine points while Armstrong added eight points off the bench as he was 3-of-4 shooting. Wake Forest connected on 48 percent (12-of-25) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from three-point land. Harris led the Demon Deacons with nine points as nine different players scored for WFU.

The Spartans came out of the break and narrowed the gap to six points at 40-34 as Simpson hit a jumper and junior David Williams hit his first three-pointer of the season. Wake Forest responded with an 8-2 run to extend the lead back to double figures.

UNCG tried to make a push a couple of times down the stretch but each time it did, Wake Forest was there to stop the run and retake the momentum. The Demon Deacons out-scored the Spartans 46-41 in the second half as they shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) while also hitting 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the charity stripe down the stretch.

Fifth-year senior forward Kelvin McNeil paced the Spartans on the glass with seven rebounds as the two teams combined for just nine offensive rebounds.


Georgia Tech 73, The Citadel 41

ATLANTA - The tandem of Kammeon Holsey and Marcus Georges-Hunt tallied 14 and 12 points, respectively, as Georgia Tech completed a 73-41 win over The Citadel on Saturday afternoon at the McCamish Pavilion.

Holsey and Georges-Hunt were the only two players to reach double figures in a Yellow Jacket lineup that hit 43.7 percent (31-of-71) from the field. Holsey knocked down 7-of-10 field goals and crashed the boards for seven rebounds, while Georges-Hunt provided the deep threat by hitting 4-of-5 from 3-point range.

Georgia Tech's Robert Carter, Jr., tied for a game-high 10 rebounds, as the Yellow Jackets controlled the post with a 46 in points in the paint and 25 second chance points. Georgia Tech moved to 8-2 overall following the victory.

The Citadel (3-7) offense came from the trio of Mike Groselle (9 points), Lawrence Miller (9 points) and Stephen Elmore (8 points). Groselle hit a team-high four field goals, while Miller and Elmore hit three apiece. The Bulldogs finished 15-of-59 from the floor, converting only 3-of-22 from the perimeter.

Elmore and Groselle provided a significant presence in the post, combining for 17 of the team's 33 total rebounds. Elmore hauled in 10, including four on the offensive glass, while Groselle's seven boards were highlighted by four on the defensive end.

Leading by a 41-16 margin at the break, Georgia Tech countered three points from the duo of Groselle and Elmore with five points, including a Daniel Miller dunk, to open up a 47-19 lead.

That Yellow Jacket lead ballooned to 50-20 before a Miller drained a 3-pointer at the 13:52 mark for the second Citadel field goal of the half.

After an Elmore layup made for a 52-25 difference, Georgia Tech responded with a 7-0 run that was capped off with a Miller dunk in transition.

Led by Groselle's six points, The Citadel outscored Georgia Tech 12-8 over the next 5:18 of the contest to make for a 67-37 score.

The Yellow Jackets allowed just four Bulldog points in the final 2:35 of the frame, highlighted by a Janeil Jenkins trey, as they earned their fifth all-time victory over The Citadel. 

Behind the combination of Georges-Hunt (12 points) and Holsey (8 points), Georgia Tech took a 25-point lead into the intermission.

The Yellow Jackets finished 17-of-38 from the floor, including a 5-of-14 performance from beyond the arc. Georges-Hunt and Holsey shared the team-high in made field goals in the opening frame with four, however Georges-Hunt held the scoring edge as all of his made field goals came from 3-point range.

Georgia Tech also held a 15-3 edge in second chance points due in large part to a 28-18 edge in rebounds.

The Citadel struggled to find its offensive flow in the opening half after hitting just 6-of-31 from the field. Facing a double-digit deficit for a large part of the first half, the Dogs turned to their 3-point game which resulted in just 1-of-11 shooting.

Elmore and Miller scored four points apiece, tying for the team-high, as Elmore led the way with a pair of field goals.

Elmore also made his presence felt on the glass with five rebounds, tying teammate Mike Groselle for the team-high.

After falling in an early 7-0 hole, The Citadel's Ashton Moore hit a jumper from the foul line to put the Bulldogs on the board at the 17:08 mark.

Less than a minute later, Groselle trimmed the Yellow Jacket lead to 7-3, only to see Georgia Tech put together a 13-0 run over the next 4:42 of the contest to open up a 20-3 advantage.

Janeil Jenkins found Van Scyoc deep in the corner, who buried a 3-pointer and halted The Citadel's scoreless streak at the 12:10 mark. Just over a minute later, Quinton Marshall followed with a layup to keep the Dogs within striking distance at 22-8.

The Citadel's fourth point in the paint came from Elmore, who put the Bulldogs into double figures as the Ramblin' Wreck held a 12-point advantage, 22-10.

A trio of 3-pointers by Georges-Hunt over the next 3:27 of the half extended the Yellow Jacket lead to 39-10, providing the largest cushion of the half.

Lawrence Miller responded for the Cadets with four consecutive points, but Georgia Tech ended the half with a 41-16 lead.


Jacksonville 65, Furman 53

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University used an 11-0 first half run to grab the lead and held Furman to 29 percent shooting in the second half en route to a 65-53 victory over the Paladins in men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Arena.

The loss, Furman's third straight, dropped the Paladins to 3-8 on the season.  Jacksonville improved to 5-7 with its first victory in its last three outings.

Furman fashioned a 17-10 advantage in the opening minutes behind six points from freshman Stephen Croone and led 24-21 following a Bryant Irwin put back with 6:18 remaining in the period, but the Dolphins reeled off an 11-0 run to take control of the game.  Jarvis Haywood ignited the run with a three-pointer and Evin Graham and Kordario Fleming capped the spurt with back-to-back dunks to put JU in front 32-24 with three minutes left in the half.

After carrying a 38-30 lead into the break, Jacksonville began the second half on a 9-2 run to build a 47-32 lead.  The Dolphins led 50-39 with under 13 minutes left when Irwin converted a jumper, David Brown drained a three and Kevin Chuisseu followed with a layup to trim the margin to 50-46 with 11:13 to play.

Jacksonville's defense took over down the stretch and held Furman to just two baskets and seven total points over the final 11 minutes to pull away for their first victory since December 3.  

Haywood led the way for the Dolphins with a career-high 16 points and nine rebounds while Dylan Fritsch added 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.  Fleming rounded out the Dolphins double figure scorers with 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.

Jacksonville shot 46 percent from the field, including 60 percent in the first half, and out-rebounded the Paladins 43-32.  The Dolphins outscored Furman 32-18 in the paint and 16-7 on the fast break.

Furman shot only 34 percent from the floor and connected on just 6-of-24 three-point attempts.  Croone paced the Paladins with 11 points.


Drexel 69, Davidson 58

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Damion Lee recorded a double-double (26 points, 11 rebounds) and Drexel finished with a 40-14 advantage on the glass to defeat Davidson, 69-58, in non-conference men's basketball action Saturday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Despite the setback, De'Mon Brooks led three Wildcats in double figures with 16 points, while Nik Cochran and Jake Cohen added 10 points each.

In addition to their 19 offensive rebounds, the Dragons shot 54.5 percent in the second half to finish the contest at 49.1 percent (26-53).

Davidson (6-5) shot 44.2 percent (19-43) overall, 36.4 percent (8-of-22) from behind the arc and made 12-of-16 at the charity stripe.

Frantz Massenat also contributed double digits for the Dragons with 14 points.

Drexel also got 34 points from its bench and finished with 26 points in the paint.

After the Dragons extended their lead to 12, 52-40, on a Lee 3-pointer with 10:46 left, Davidson responded with eight unanswered to make it 52-48 with 6:20 to go, but couldn't get any closer.

Drexel (4-7) used a 22-6 (12 offensive) advantage on the glass in the first 20 minutes of action to take a 34-28 lead into the half.

The Wildcats drilled five straight 3-pointers to start the game before going without a field goal for more than five minutes and falling behind by as many as eight, 34-26.