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SoCon title in ETSU's sights at Wofford

Joe Avento • Feb 26, 2020 at 3:00 PM

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — It’s taken months to get to this point of clarity, but now the East Tennessee State men’s basketball team has the goal in sight.

The Bucs can clinch at least a share of the Southern Conference regular-season championship Wednesday night with a win over Wofford. Perhaps more importantly, they can also wrap up the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

“It’s exactly where we want to be,” ETSU coach Steve Forbes said. “It’s exactly what we’ve talked about all year long.

“We’ve put ourselves in position. Now we have to go finish.”

ETSU (25-4, 14-2) and Wofford (16-13, 8-8) meet at 7 p.m. in the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. If the Bucs win their final two games — they close the regular season Saturday against Western Carolina — they would earn the regular-season title outright regardless of what happens around the league.

“We’re in control of our own destiny,” Forbes said. “We don’t have to worry about anybody else winning or losing. We just have to go on the court and take care of business.”

The Terriers are tied for sixth place and fighting to stay out of the play-in game at the conference tournament. Wofford has lost five games in a row, which Forbes says makes it even more dangerous.

“You look at those losses, one was in overtime and two were by two points or something like that,” Forbes said. “I’m going to always have the same respect for Wofford no matter how many games they’ve won or didn’t win. I know they’re good. I know they have good players and I know they’re going to play really hard.”

JEROMY’S BACK

The Bucs are expected to regain the services of Jeromy Rodriguez, an all-conference forward who missed 13 games with a foot injury.

How much he’ll play remains to be seen as he tries to work himself back into playing shape.

SCOUTING THE TERRIERS

It’s Senior Night for Wofford and three players will be honored. Among them is leading scorer Nathan Hoover, who averages 15.7 points per game. The 6-foot-4 guard has made 85 of 91 free throws this season, or 93.4%.

Trevor Stumpe and Donovan Theme-Love also are being honored.

Junior Storm Murphy is Hoover’s running mate and averages 12.3 ppg and leads the SoCon in 3-point shooting. Junior Chevez Goodwin averages 11.9.

FIRST MEETING

The Bucs held off the Terriers 49-48 on New Year’s Day.

Wofford scored off an ETSU turnover to cut the deficit to one and then fouled Patrick Good, who missed the front end of a 1-and-1.

Before Wofford could get off a potential game-winning shot, however, ETSU’s Isaiah Tisdale tipped the ball away and the horn sounded.

Wofford’s Messiah Jones had 18 points that night but has scored in double figures only twice more in 15 subsequent appearances.

Good, with 12 points, was the only ETSU player to score in double figures.

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