JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The No. 19 Wofford men’s basketball team recorded its first ever win in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship on Thursday night, as Fletcher Magee drained seven 3-pointers to break the all-time record for career 3-pointers in Division I history and lead the Terriers to an 84-68 win over Seton Hall.
Magee scored a team-high 24 points, going 7-for-12 from 3-point range, breaking Travis Bader’s (Oakland, 504) record for career 3s in the process. Magee, who now has 509 career 3-pointers, hit 5-of-7 in the second half, propelling Wofford to the 20-point victory.
“Yeah, I was aware of it just from the media and everyone texting me and stuff, and saying I had three more, Magee said of breaking the record. “So when I hit it, I definitely noticed the crowd was louder than just the normal three in the second half.”
Wofford has now won 21 straight games and improves to 30-4 on the season. The Terriers, who are the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region, will face the No. 2 seed Kentucky Wildcats in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday at 2:30 (approximately).
The Terriers become just the third team in SoCon history to reach 30 wins and the first since NC State went 30-7 in 1950-51.
“Proud of my boys,” said Wofford head coach Mike Young. “Look forward to coming back over tomorrow and practicing with this team, I can’t tell you how enjoyable that has been for me, and the thought of Wofford coming back on Saturday to face off against one of the great programs in our country in the Kentucky Wildcats, that’s pretty cool stuff.”
Nathan Hoover lit it up from 3-point range as well, totaling 18 points on four 3-pointers while Cameron Jackson recorded a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. As a team, Wofford shot 48.1 percent from the field and 46.4 percent from downtown scoring 20 points off Seton Hall turnovers.
“Oh, it means a lot to all of us, but we know we can’t get caught up in the moment,” said Hoover of picking up the program’s first win in the NCAA tournament. “We can enjoy it right now, but we know we have a lot of preparation to do. We know we came here to win and we came here to make it as far as we can, so we’re just going to get ready for Saturday.”
Jackson scored the first bucket of the game as Wofford took an early 7-5 lead. Seton Hall flipped the script and led by five until Magee drained his first 3-pointer of the night to make it 12-10. Near the midway point of the first, Jackson began to take over, hitting back to back buckets before grabbing an offensive rebound and finding Storm Murphy for a 3-pointer to put Wofford ahead 23-16.
The bigs continued to put the work in as Jackson scored again and then found Chevez Goodwin for a slam that pushed the lead to 13. Moments later, Magee rose up from the top of the key and drained his 504th career 3-pointer while getting fouled to make it 34-18 in favor of the Terriers. The Pirates responded, going on a 9-0 run until a jumper from Murphy ended the cold streak for Wofford. With time winding down on the shot clock, a broken play turned into a dunk from Keve Aluma to end the half with Wofford’s biggest lead at the break in its five tournament games (40-30).
Magee wasted no time making history in the second, knocking down a 3-pointer to open the scoring in the half and move past Bader for the most career 3s in NCAA Division I history with 505.
“I feel like I didn’t caught too caught up in it. It was a close game,” Magee said of the record-breaking shot. “I was just focused on doing whatever I could to help us continue to stretch our lead and win down the stretch. I feel like I was aware of it, but I just kind of blocked it out and tried to focus on winning.
“Really, really neat. Really neat,” said Young of Magee breaking the record in the NCAA tournament. “And what you don’t see is and how hard he’s worked time and time and time again in that gym. I go over often to watch film. I enjoy it, no phones, and I can’t tell you how many times I walk in that gorgeous building of ours and there’s a ball bouncing, and I know it’s him. 9:00 at night, 10:00 at night, and he’s not messing around. He’s going at it, getting better.”
With Seton Hall fighting back and cutting the lead to eight, Magee knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the night to make the score 53-42 with 13:39 to play in the second. Led by Myles Powell’s back to back 3-pointers, Seton Hall took its first lead of the second half with 10:52 to play (54-53).
The two sides traded buckets, but Magee continued to be red hot from beyond the arc, putting Wofford ahead 67-62 with just over five minutes to play after knocking down two more 3s. Nathan Hoover made his presence felt, draining a pair of 3-pointers to put Wofford up by six before Magee’s seventh 3-pointer of the night made it 76-66 with three minutes left to play.
Jackson helped seal the game for the Terriers, drawing a charge and converting in the paint with 1:30 to push the Wofford lead to 14 as a layup from Murphy capped off the historic night.
“No, man, I’ve seen it,” Young said of Wofford’s ability to finish a close game. “We haven’t had a lot of close games. But I think back to Greensboro, Samford down six with 50 seconds to play. They never have that look about them like we’ve got a problem. You know, Seton Hall takes a stab at us, take the lead, was never an air of panic, never an air of, ‘Oh, my God, we’ve got a problem.’ Next possession, next best action. Figure it out. And they’ve done it time and time and time again.”