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Southern Conference First Round

March 7, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Southern Conference First Round

by Michael Ermitage

No. 4N Western Carolina vs. No. 5S Georgia Southern
The 2003 Mountain Dew Southern Conference Basketball Championships kicked off with Georgia Southern holding off Western Carolina, 89-81. Julius Jenkins scored a team-high 20 points Wednesday to lead Georgia Southern in the first round.

The Eagles (16-12), the fifth-seed from the SoCon South Division, advance to the quarterfinals to play the College of Charleston, the South’s No. 1 seed, Thursday at noon. The Catamounts, the fourth seed from the North, finish the season at 9-19.

Jenkins, who scored 13 points in the first half, was held to seven in the second half. All seven of his second-half points came with less than 2:25 remaining in the game.

An L.T. Lockett three-pointer with 53 seconds left enabled the Catamounts to slice GSU’s lead to 82-75. The Eagles made five of six free throws from that point to hold off the Cats for the win.

No. 3S Wofford vs. No. 6N UNC-Greensboro
Wofford’s Tyler Berg drained two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining to help the Terriers seal its 77-73 first round victory Wednesday.

Wofford (14-14), the third-seed from the SoCon South Division, advances to the quarterfinals to play East Tennessee State, the North’s No. 2 seed, Thursday at about 2:30 p.m. It is Wofford’s first trip to the quarterfinals in three years. The Spartans, the sixth seed from the North, finish the season at 7-22.

Consecutive turnovers with under 20 seconds to play resulted in a foul on the Spartans and sent Wofford’s Lee Nixon to the free throw line with 13 seconds remaining. With Wofford leading 75-73, Nixon missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity. UNCG’s James Maye rebounded the ball, and Ray Bristow’s short jumper with five seconds left was off the mark, effectively ending the game.

No. 4S Furman vs. No. 5N VMI
Thanks to Ben Rand and Radee Skipworth, who combined to score 43 of VMI’s 62 points, the VMI Kedets won their first SoCon tournament game in five years. The team upset Furman, 62-56, in the first round Wednesday.

The Keydets (9-19), the fifth-seed from the SoCon North Division, advance to the quarterfinals to play defending champion Davidson, the North’s No. 1 seed, Thursday at 6 p.m. The Paladins, the fourth seed from the South, finish the season at 14-17. They entered the Tournament winners of five straight games.

Rand, who tied his season high with five three-pointers and was 5-of-6 from long range, gave VMI the lead for good, snapping a 27-27 halftime tie with a triple 29 seconds into the second half.

N. 3N Appalachian State vs. No. 6S The Citadel
Shawn Hall scored 20 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer Wednesday, to lead Appalachian State to a 73-63 victory over The Citadel in the first round.

The Mountaineers (19-9), the third-seed from the SoCon North Division, advance to the quarterfinals to play Chattanooga, the South’s No. 2 seed, Thursday at about 8:30 p.m. ASU was eliminated in the first round last season. The Bulldogs, the sixth seed from the South, finish the season at 8-20.

Five of Hall’s six field goals were three-pointers. His final one of the game snapped a 60-60 tie and gave the Mountaineers a 63-60 edge with 2:36 remaining in the game. ASU held the Bulldogs to one basket and a free throw the rest of the way, and the Mountaineers made 7-of-8 free throws in the final 49 seconds to hold on for the win.


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