Western Carolina 72, UNCG 51
Key Stat: UNCG had 23 turnovers. The Spartans started really struggling late in the first half when a rash turnovers took a Spartans lead and turned it into a deficit. The turnovers never stopped for the Spartans. Too many turnovers made it too easy for the Spartans to fall behind. The Catamounts capitalized and only turned it over eleven turnovers. That was why the Spartans were beaten down.
Player of the Game: Trey Sumler, Western Carolina. Sumler scored 16 points on 6 of 14 shooting. He had four rebounds and three assists to go along with it. Sumler made 2 of 6 from three point range. The leading scorer in the SoCon needed to have a great game and he had a solid scoring contest. No Catamount had a truly great game, but Sumler was the closest thing.
What It All Means: UNCG went into this game thinking they were one of the top teams in the SoCon. But the Spartans were not ready for primetime in the SoCon yet. They did not take it to the road. They are still a tough team to beat and could contend in the SoCon. But they need to turn things around when they play Furman on Monday. Western Carolina has guaranteed the split they needed out of this weekend. They get Elon on Saturday. If they win that one, then the Catamounts will be in very good position in the SoCon very early in the season. Saturday shapes up as very important.
Wofford 71, Samford 61
Key Stat: Terriers +10 on the boards. Samford has Tim Williams, and should be expected to control the boards many nights in the SoCon. They did not tonight. The Terriers dominated the boards and that was one reason that Samford could not win. It was a late run by the Terriers that put it away, but it was that the Bulldogs only had three offensive rebounds that made it so hard for them to win to begin with.
Player of the Game: Karl Cochran, Wofford. Cochran scored 27 points, which is not shocking, but he did it on only seventeen shots, which is surprising. Cochran had the kind of night that when he has it, the Terriers are going to be tough to beat. He also collected six rebounds. If Cochran is going to be that good, the Terriers will contend in the SoCon consistently.
What It All Means: Wofford is considered a contender by many statistically based formulas, but people that have been watching haven't been believing it as much. That being said, they are a solid team, and they looked the part tonight. If they are going to shoot 46% from the floor, they are going to be tough to beat. They host Davidson on Saturday with an opportunity to establish themselves as one of the SoCon favorites. Samford has to get things together quickly. They go to Georgia Southern, another team looking to prove that they belong in the discussion for a bye in the SoCon. The Bulldogs continue to not look quite right this year, but Tyler Hood and Tim Williams shot 16 of 21 in this one. The rest of the team was 9 of 25. They've got to do better on the boards to have more success.