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Southern Conference First Round Recap

March 4, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




Southern Conference First Round Recap

Recap by Paul Oren

No. 4S Furman 73, No. 5N Western Carolina 68

Maleye Ndoye scored 25 points, including 5 three-pointers, to lead Furman to a 73-68 opening round victory over Western Carolina. The Paladins built their largest lead at 60-42 with 9:16 remaining, but a 22-4 run by the Catamounts tied the game with 4:07 left in the contest. Once the game was tied, the Furman freshman stepped up with Robby Bostain hitting a runner in the lane, and SoCon Freshman of the Year Quan Prowell tipped in a basket while getting fouled. He made the ensuing free throw and clinched the victory for the Paladins.

“It was a great blend of the old and the new,” said Furman coach Larry Davis. “Ndoye led us in scoring and the freshmen scored the last nine points of the game.”

SoCon leading scorer Kevin Martin was held to 18 points, 8 points below his season average for Western Carolina who finish their season at 13-15.

“We expended energy, but we got stopped three times after tying the game,” said Western Carolina coach Steve Shurina. “They were good at keeping us at bay. Good teams will let you come back but not overtake you. That’s what they did.”

No. 3N Elon 66 vs. No. 6S The Citadel 56

The magic ran out for The Citadel in their opening round game against Elon. Heading into the SoCon tournament, the Bulldogs had won two in a row…their only two conference wins of the season. Jackson Atoyebi and Matt Nowlin had other ideas in Elon’s first ever SoCon Tournament. Atoyebi led the Phoenix with 18 points and 8 rebounds while Matt Nowlin went 5 of 11 (all from three-point range) to finish with 15 points en route to a 10-point victory.

“We’re very pleased to win the game,” said Elon coach Ernie Nestor. “It’s our first Southern Conference tournament. It’s a good win for us although we didn’t play very well. I have to give The Citadel credit. We couldn’t get the tempo where we wanted it.”

The Bulldogs got scoring from only four players and were led by Senior Max Mombollet with 22 points and Kevin Hammack with 20. The Citadel finishes their season at 6-22.

“We don’t have any size underneath,” said Citadel coach Pat Dennis. “When we lost Max to foul trouble, it hurt us. Jackson played very well for them, so it was a struggle to lose our inside presence.”

No. 5S Wofford 85 vs. No. 4N UNC Greensboro 82 (OT)

Wofford entered the SoCon tournament on the losing end of 10 of their last 12 games. The put those losing demons to rest, but it took more than just regulation to do so. UNC Greensboro, losers of a triple overtime game this past Saturday, watched helplessly as the Terriers battled back from a 5-point deficit with 1:18 left in regulation. Byron Fields scored on a lay-up at the buzzer to send the game into overtime and to add to his career night. Fields finished the game with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals.

Wofford took a 83-75 lead in the extra session before Ronnie Taylor scored 6 points, grabbed 2 steals and helped to cut the lead down to 84-82 with 15 seconds left. After a Terrier free throw, the favored Spartans had one last chance to tie the game, but Taylor missed three-pointer with 3 seconds remaining.

“I am elated for our team and players,” Wofford coach Mike Young said. “Byron Fields was phenomenal. He was as good a quarterback through both halves today as he has been all year. He handled the ball well and showed some real leadership.”

Fields was complimented by Howard Wilkerson who led the Terriers with 19 points and 9 rebounds. The Spartans (11-17) were led by senior Jay Joseph with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Joseph, who attempted 24 shots, finishes his career as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

“I am proud of our team’s effort and fight tonight,” said UNCG coach Fran McCaffrey. Our execution was fine, although the last play didn’t go as we had hoped.”

No. 3S Charleston 71 vs. No. 6N Appalachian State 61

Following the first upset of the tournament, Appalachian State took the court with designs on creating the second of the night, and for a half they did nearly that. On a three-pointer by D.J. Thompson with 6:02 left in the first half, the Mountaineers had a 27-15 lead en route to an 8-point halftime lead. They trailed only once in the first half.

But for Charleston, this game was a tale of two halves. It took 9 minutes, but after a Thomas Mobley three-pointer, the Cougars tied the game and 27 seconds later, fellow All-Conference player Tony Mitchell nailed a three-pointer to give Charleston a lead they would never lose. During the Charleston run, ASU went scoreless for 5:36. Charleston outscored ASU 45-27 in the second half. Bernard Jackson had a double double for the Cougars with 12 points and 15 rebounds, 11 of them on the offensive glass.

“Bernard Jackson was spectacular,” said Charleston coach Tom Herrion. “Good things happen to good people. He kept us in the game with his hustle.”

Mobley led all scorers with 20 points, and Thompson finished with 16 to pace Appalachian State, who finishes the season 9-21.

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