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SPARTANBURG - It was a packed out and emotional night inside of Benjamin Johnson Arena Saturday night. It was the last game that the Wofford Terriers will play inside the Benjo before moving into their new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium. It was also senior night for the Terriers as Eric Garcia, Jaylen Allen, Ryan Sawvell and Eric Wagenlander were all recognized before the game and also got the start. On such a big night, the Terriers did not disappoint as they romp the Catamounts 84-56 and snapped their 2 game losing streak.
Point guard Eric Garcia had a big night scoring 19 points and dishing out 9 assists, along with forward Cameron Jackson recording a double-double also scoring 19 and 10 boards. Forward Ryan Sawvell had a double-double as well tallying 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Wofford had their foot on the gas pedal the whole night and never looked back. The Terriers simply outplayed the Catamounts on both sides of the ball and were by far the better team. Mike Youngís team was causing havoc for the Catamounts, forcing Western Carolina to shoot only 38% from the field, 11 steals and causing 18 turnovers. Foul trouble hurt the Catamounts in the first half, as Wofford was a perfect 16-16 at the charity stripe.
You could tell that the Terriers were playing with some real passion and were having fun at the same time. From Cameron Jackson throwing down emphatic dunks to off the backboard alley oops, there were smiles all over the court and knew that Saturday night was not just an ordinary night as they bid farewell to the Benjo.
Wofford will now travel up to Lexington, Virginia to take on VMI inside Cameron Hall on Wednesday (7 pm) before they face Furman on Saturday, February 25 in the last game of the regular season. After that, the Southern Conference Tournament will be held in Asheville, North Carolina from March 3-6 where the Terriers will be looking to make a deep run and come out as champions.
SPARTANBURG- It was a tough loss for the Wofford Terriers last night inside a crowded Benjamin Johnson Arena against the SoCon preseason favorite Chattanooga. Many fans and students came out to show their support and participate in the whiteout, only to see Mike Young's team come up short 73-65 in a game they lead most of the way.
The loss ended Wofford's (13-14, 8-6) impressive four-game winning streak. Chattanooga has now won both meetings between the two teams this year including the last four at the BenJo, where the Terriers have been so dominate this year.
Shooting guard Fletcher Magee led the way for Wofford, finishing with 26 points on the night. Point guard Eric Garcia, who has been on fire lately, had a cold night shooting. Garcia finished with only 2 points, but dished out a game-high 10 assists. Forward Ryan Sawvell posted his second-straight double double (16 points, 11 rebounds) for the Terriers.
The first half stayed close throughout, each team going back and forth and shot for shot. Magee would drain one from downtown, but the Mocs would answer right back with a three pointer of their own from Greg Pryor. The same could also be said on the defensive side of the ball, with both teams playing aggressive and blocking shots underneath the basket.
The Terriers started the second half strong, but as the game wore, Wofford took some some tough, off balance shots. This fueled the Mocs' late run and where they eventually took the lead. Credit to the Chattanooga defense as they were not going to give Wofford any easy looks, especially from deep.
Wofford will now have a chance to get some much deserved rest after a busy week. The Terriers will hit the road to face UNC Greensboro on Wednesday (7 pm) before coming back to Spartanburg for the final game inside the BenJo on Saturday, February 18. Come bid farewell next weekend before the Terriers move into the new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium next season.
SPARTANBURG - Talk about a crazy night in Spartanburg last night as the Wofford Terriers got their revenge against Samford in a hard-fought game that went into quadruple overtime. In the end, it was the home team outlasting the Bulldogs, 131-127 (4OT).
The win moves Wofford's winning streak to four in a row, which evens their regular season mark at 13-13 and 8-5 in SoCon play. The Terriers are virtually unbeatable inside the BenJo, improving to 10-1 at home this season, as the program says goodbye to their longtime home arena.
All five starters for Wofford scored in double figures led by shooting guard Fletcher Magee's career-high 36 points. Mike Young's team also got a pair of double doubles from point guard Eric Garcia (31 points, 10 assists) and forward Ryan Sawvell (16 points, 16 rebounds). Forward Cameron Jackson also had a great game (21 points, 8 boards) and was a real presence in the paint.
It was a game we knew wouldn't disappoint…and clearly didn't in playing four overtimes. Wofford and Samford were the SoCon's two best teams in three point field goal percentage, which had the makings of a high scoring affair. However, Wofford started out cold from deep, shooting only 2-12 in the first half. Instead, the Terriers went to work inside, getting 16 of their 33 points in the paint while also outrebounding Samford in the first half.
Fouls really hurt the Bulldogs as they put Wofford in the bonus with just under 10 minutes left to play in regulation, tipping the game in the Terriers' favor with outstanding free throw shooters. This allowed Young's team to attack the lane and earn more trips to the line.
Once overtime started you couldn't look away because of the fear of missing something spectacular since both teams were making clutch shot after another ensuring more "free" basketball. Just when you thought one team had it wrapped up, Samford would convert on a fast break or Magee would drain one from well outside the arc.
This was one of those games where both teams played their hearts out and you wish you could give both of them the win for an incredible performance displayed at The BenJo. Wofford will try to extend its winning streak to five tomorrow tonight when the Terriers play host to third-place Chattanooga at 7:00 pm.
The NBA has defiantly picked up some steam in the past week. Sadly, it's for some good and bad reasons. Watching this LeBron-Barkley saga feels like I'm back at my fifth-grade lunch table.
First, Barkley gave his opinion about what he thought about LeBron James, which is what he's paid to do as an analyst. Sir Charles was critical of James by questioning his competitiveness. LeBron however took it to a personal level by telling Barkley, "I didn't show up late for an All-Star game, spit on someone, throw someone through a window, or not pay up on a gambling debt."
Ouch LeBron. You would've thought he was on Comedy Central Roast show. LeBron went for the juggler! He set out to destroy Sir Charles.
He wasn't alone on attacking the "Round Mound of Rebound." TNT co-analyst Shaquille O'Neal intensified the situation a few days later by stating, "If I was LeBron, I would've punched you in the face!"
D-Wade and Draymond Green came out and supported LeBron, even urging him to say more! Come on fellas…this is the NBA and not the Housewives of Hollywood. Let's cut the drama and get back to hooping. Please?!?.
Unlike his height, Isaiah Thomas has been huge this season! For the month of January, Thomas led the NBA in scoring (32.9 ppg) and helped the Celtics to a 10-4 record for the month. He has scored 20 points in each of his last 33 games, and is currently averaging 29.7 PPG. Only Larry Bird averaged more points a game as a Celtic (29.9 ppg) for a season.
The most remarkable stat is what Thomas is doing during clutch time, leading the NBA in fourth quarter points (averaging 10.7 ppg in the fourth). The 5-foot-9 point guard is lighting up the NBA and showing big things do come in small packages. Don't overlook him, because this tiny guard has the Celtics looking up at a 2.5 lead from first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Boston Celtics are going to wear General Electric sponsorship logos on their jerseys next season. Yes, that's right! Teams will have corporate sponsors on the front of the jersey instead of the NBA logo.
The NBA logo will still be on the jersey, but it will be moved to the back like an old t-shirt. Ads are already on the All-Star uniforms. You will see Kia all over the place All-Star weekend. Don't get me wrong, I understand the move from business perspective. It will bring 100 million to the league. I wonder if they will sell jerseys with the sponsor logos on them.
I don't think I could wear a Bulls jersey with a Sears or Harold's chicken logo. Maybe an Uno's Pizza, but not Sears. What if the Wizards had a Trump logo on it? The Jordan Jumpman would be kind of cool to see. What if New Orleans had a Zaterans, or a Chick-fil-A logo for the Atlanta Hawks? Call me old school, but I don't want to see company logos replacing Jerry West.
SPARTANBURG - Another outstanding performance in Spartanburg from the Wofford Terriers, as they came from behind to stun a talented East Tennessee State team.
The Terriers have a knack for ending their opponent's winning streaks. Wofford ended UNC Greensboro's six-game streak last week and ETSU's four-game winning streak last night in their last two home games at Benjamin Johnson Arena. After their third consecutive win, the Terriers move to 12-13 on the season and 7-5 in SoCon play.
The win was also Wofford head coach Mike Young's 244th of his career Monday night and he's now second place for most career wins by a Southern Conference coach.
ETSU came out aggressive, using a full-court press that gave the Terriers trouble to start the night. The Bucs' big men caused havoc inside, dominating the glass and points in the paint.
However, Wofford senior point guard Eric Garcia was a catalyst throughout the game and reminded us of the great form he's been in lately. Shooting guard Fletcher Magee and Garcia both shined for the Terriers, finishing with 23 and 28 points respectively. It took Magee until the second half to really get going, but once he found his rhythm, he was deadly from outside the arc as one of the SoCon's best perimeter shooters.
One again Terrier fans came out and brought it inside The BenJo, urging their team to pull off an incredible comeback. You could feel the crowd suck the air out of the gym as either Magee or Garcia let one fly from deep, then erupting in celebration as each shot counted.
Wofford has three more home games remaining this season, as the program prepares to say goodbye to The BenJo before moving into the new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium next year. ESPN Upstate will be in the house this Thursday when Mark Sturgis and Price Atkinson broadcast "Straight Up With Sturg" (4:00-7:00 pm) live from The BenJo ahead of the Terriers' 7:00 pm tipoff against Samford.
The Terriers will then host SoCon preseason favorite and second-place Chattanooga Saturday at 7:00 pm.
I'll be the firs to admit it...I knew the game was over when Matt Ryan found Tevin Coleman for a 6-yard touchdown making it 28-3 in the 3rd quarter. I just knew it and so did you.
So did everybody.
This was the day that "Freezing Cold Takes" has dreamed of on Twitter.
Not one person, Patriots fan or not, had any idea of what was going to unfold in the final 21 minutes of this football game. Heck, even the "probability meter" gave the Patriots just a 0.02% chance of winning when down 25-points.
Then, greatness happened.
Oddly enough, the greatest part of this greatness had nothing to do with Tom Brady and everything to do with Patriots' defense and coordinator Matt Patricia.
Patricia didn't have an answer for the Falcons offense all night. Even after halftime, when the biggest adjustments were expected, the Falcons continued to move the ball down the field with ease and pushed their lead to 25-points. That is when Patricia seemed to figure something out.
After that touchdown drive for the Falcons, it was all New England.
Folks are going to line up and place all the blame for the loss on Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his play calling with the lead, but to me there is far less reason to bash Shanahan than there is reason to laud Patricia.
The Falcons played with their foot on the gas all season long...and it worked. In the NFC Championship game, Atlanta didn't let up and ended up blowing the Packers out of the Georgia Dome. If Matt Ryan finds Julio Jones in the back of the end zone on one of those 4th quarter drives, then Shanahan would be praised as "gutsy" and we'd talk about how he was wise to not let up on the Patriots.
Instead, Patricia's defense got the job done, made the necessary plays and gave the greatest quarterback in the history of the game the opportunity to create even more history.
I don't think anything should be taken away from the Atlanta Falcons and their amazingly talented team after this loss either. Grady Jarrett became a Super Bowl legend, even in the loss, and Matt Ryan was well on his way to backing up his NFL MVP with a Super Bowl MVP. This team is young, fast, skilled and not going anywhere.
It's always so easy to place blame rather than give credit, but today I think it's the credit that deserves the spotlight. Maybe this is a good first step to seeing things in a more positive light, rather than being negative all the time.
Let's focus on the fact that the Patriots completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Let's focus on the fact that Tom Brady set, tied and extended nearly every single Super Bowl record further cementing his place as the G.O.A.T. Let's focus on the fact that gritty performances by guys like Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Martellus Bennett and James White led to the craziest sporting event we witnessed in quite possibly the craziest sports year ever.
Before this Super Bowl, I ranted on the podcast about lazy radio hosts and their need to fill air time with silly topics like asking if the championship game of the most popular league in the most popular sport is "buzz-worthy." Well, was that buzz-worthy enough for you?
I may have lost hope (and admittedly congratulated Falcons fans on social media) when it was 28-3...but I knew better than to turn the game off or go to bed because as the great Yogi Berra told us, "it ain't over till it's over."
Well Yogi...now it's over...and so is the debate about Tom Brady's place in history.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
With Super Bowl LI just days away, the reminders that two weeks off is too long are all over sports talk radio.
Recycled filler topics have filled the airwaves coast-to-coast and some radio hosts have even resorted to discussing why the Super Bowl doesn't seem to be buzz-worthy. Think about that for a second...the Super Bowl isn't buzz-worthy.
Maybe it's because we've taken sports talk radio so far away from actually talking about games, or maybe it's just laziness.
On one side of this game you have the New England Patriots on the brink of history. Sure a fifth Lombardi Trophy for the franchise isn't historic, but a fifth for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady is. A win on Sunday would be the cherry on top of the sundae of greatness for this duo and would cement their place atop the NFL "greatest of all time" mountain.
On the other side, you have the number one scoring offense in the league with a quarterback in Matt Ryan who was, until now, hit with the "can't win the big one" label. Well, in a very Steve Young-like fashion, he may get that monkey off of his back. Making the Super Bowl clears one hurdle for Ryan, but winning the Super Bowl (as Young did in 1995) would erase that label forever.
A win would also give the Atlanta Falcons their very first Super Bowl Championship in franchise history.
So either way you look at it, this Super Bowl is shrouded in historical relevance and the match-up is extremely buzz-worthy.
You're matching up the number one scoring offense against the number one scoring defense. You have two great quarterbacks going head to head with the probably MVP in Ryan and the "GOAT" in Brady.
If you're a Patriots fan, or at least just indifferent to them, it's almost even more interesting.
This Super Bowl almost mirrors the Patriots 2003 Super Bowl run. ESPN had a graphic about this last week showing that New England's first loss in both years was a shutout loss to the Buffalo Bills, the last time they trailed in a game was Week 10, they are 16-2 heading into the Super Bowl again AND they are playing the 13-5 NFC South Champions (Panthers in 2003).
Beyond the striking similarities to what was a fantastic Super Bowl in February of 2004, there's another very interesting twist to this football game. The Patriots are not the offensive juggernaut that will have to be stopped...the Falcons are.
This game is almost the reverse of the Super Bowl XLII when the Patriots set almost every regular season offensive record and entered the big game 18-0. In that game it took an outstanding defensive performance from the New York Giants to stop Brady and the gang from getting their fourth ring.
Well, the Falcons offense isn't quite as prolific as that Patriots offense was in 2007, but Matt Ryan has been almost as good as Brady was that year (outside of TDs) and with Julio Jones and the rest of his offensive weapons, it's going to take a spectacular defensive performance by the Patriots to even slow down Atlanta, let alone stop them.
As many have said, it's hard to pick against Belichick and the Patriots in games like this, but we know full well that you would have been wise to do so on two separate occasions. So the question is, will this be the third?
Superfan Mike Venditti says "no way, Pats roll," but Ditti the sports writer/broadcaster/analyst says..."man, I don't know." I've caught a lot of grief from random Patriots fans here in Greenville that have yelled "Go Pats" at me upon seeing my hat because when we talk about the game, I express my concerns.
I know the Patriots defense has been stellar for the second half of the season...but I also remember seeing Ryan Tannehill light them up in the second half early in the season. Matt Ryan is a bit better than Tannehill. Then there's the flip-side...the Falcons lost to the Chargers, a team that is nowhere near as good as the Patriots.
Since I have to take a stance...I guess I will do it now, but I'm going to do it two different ways.
Superfan Mike pick: Pats roll 38-17
Ditti pick: Could go either way, but I'll take the Patriots 24-21 in a nail biter that ends on a long Stephen Gostkowski field goal, redeeming himself for the misses in last year's AFC Title game.
There you have it...either way, I'm taking New England. If they lose, I'll be far from upset. I shelter no hatred for the Falcons, I am cool with their fans and it'd be fun to see this region celebrate a second championship in so many months.
But have no doubt...I'll be cheering hard for my Patriots!
Enjoy the game everybody...and prepare for history.
Find me on Twitter (@Ditti33), Facebook (/ditti33) and Instagram (dittius33).
“We need a f---ing playmaker! I’ll be 33 next winter, and I ain’t got time to waste.” Those were exact words from a disgruntled LeBron James.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a losing record since the calendar changed to 2017 and are 4-6 in their last ten games. The Cavs currently have the highest payroll in the NBA at $127.6 million and have to pay a $27 million in owed luxury tax. And that was after paying $54 million in luxury tax last season.
Obviously, those numbers mean absolutely nothing to the King. He wants more help. As he stated, they are top heavy as you-know-what. LeBron wants more playmakers. You know, just in case an injury happens to him or Kyrie Irving. So why don’t the Cavs just hail to the king and obey thou wishes? I mean wouldn’t that be treason? Would the king send Dan Gilbert to become beheaded? I can actually hear LeBron telling management after they rejected his latest command, “Off with their heads!”
How did we even get to this point? Well, according to Ryen Russillo of ESPN, the Cavs informed James that they would spare no expense in building a championship contender. Maybe LeBron took that as spend at will. But there’s something that prevent teams from just signing whomever they want at any time during the year. It’s called a salary cap.
Last season the Cavs obliged by that and they won a ring off of a high priced roster. Now the Cavs had a playmaker in the likes LeBron has never been around. Unfortunately, they traded that playmaker for Kevin Love. After winning a ring they had to continue to satisfy the King. So they committed to more than $250 million in new contracts to keep talent around James. The re-signed Tristan Thompson to a very lucrative deal after his sports agency advised Thompson to sit out for more money. Of course they had to pay Kevin Love a max contract. Even the shirtless JR Smith held out for more money.
But with all of the funds being spread around, they couldn’t sign the additional playmaker LeBron now misses - Matthew Dellevdova. JR Smith could be the other playmaker that James is begging for, but he’s currently injured.
I just thought as a competitor, you just embrace challenges. If you are the best player on the planet, why not take your game to another level. What kind of message does that send to your rookie point guard? Does that not tell him that he’s not good enough? Or does it tell him that he can’t be depended upon come playoff time on a team coming off of a champion ship run. Do you know what it tells me?
It tells me that LeBron is starting to have doubts about his team beating Golden State or San Antonio. It tells me that LeBron wants a break and not have to carry the load. This is the new NBA. Star players want as much help as possible so they won’t have to do it all by themselves. I get it…I think I do.
As they say, “Jordan couldn’t do anything until he got Pippen.” But wait, Jordan only had one superstar and LeBron has two. That’s an argument for another day. All I’m saying is LeBron put this team together. He wasn’t coming over unless they landed Love. He informed them that they must keep Kyrie. We all know he hinted at a coaching change which promoted good friend Ty Lue. He encouraged the organization to pay Tristian Thompson a salary that was undeserving. But even he had something to say about LeBron’s outburst saying, “No team is perfect. Every team needs something. He wants another playmaker. That’s up to the front office.”
The front office just recently traded for Kyle Korver. How much help does a defending champion with the same core need? I’m sure the Cavs will scan the market when many are released after the All-Star break. The question is, will those players be a good enough playmaker for the king?
Someone go get the royal jesters because the king is not happy, and he’s letting his entire organization who’s the real king of the mountain. It’s too bad he’s pushing some of his teammates off of it.
(Davis Pike will be providing online coverage of Wofford basketball during the rest of the 2016-17 season for ESPNUpstate.com.)
After watching an impressive performance Wednesday night in Spartanburg, the Wofford Terriers looked nothing like an 8-12 overall and 3-4 SoCon team going into their matchup with conference leader UNC Greensboro.
However, head coach Mike Young’s team ended the Spartans’ six-game winning streak with four Terriers finishing with double digits en route to a 93-74 win at The Benjo.
Much of the credit also goes to the strong Wofford crowd, which showed support for their team all night. With the crowd cheering them on and student section getting loud, you could just feel the energy inside of Benjamin Johnson Arena. It’s easy to see the passion Terrier fans have for their basketball team.
After seeing this Wofford team for the first time, it seems like a squad with an array of players that can hit from anywhere on the floor. Every time one of the Terriers took a jump shot, I felt like it was going to be nothing but net.
We should start calling Fletcher Magee and Ryan Sawvell the upstate splash brothers because they couldn’t miss from behind the arc. If the Terriers can stay in this kind of form, the rest of the Southern Conference should watch out because they looked like the real deal tonight in Spartanburg.
If you haven’t come out and seen SoCon basketball, you should come out and bring the family and kids. I highly recommend it. Tonight was one of the most fun, entertaining games I’ve seen this year. Hopefully a performance like this will carry over to this Saturday when the Terriers travel to Western Carolina to face the Catamounts.
Process is defined as a particular series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end. The Philadelphia 76ers certainly believe they have a process.
And they’d would like for the fans to believe in it as well. It seems as if the 76ers were purposely trying to tank their season and trade away their best assets in order to land the top picks in the NBA draft. They have gone by the same process for the last few seasons, but the process always turned into a failing project.
However, this season seems to have a different feel to it. The biggest project of all is starting for the Eastern Conference All Stars! Yes, Joel Embiid is an Eastern Conference starter, and he deserves every accolade that comes his way. He has been unable to play a full season since getting drafted 3rd in three years ago and actually suffered a knee injury as I was typing this blog. Embiid currently is averaging 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game this season.
The Sixers also have another injured you star that has yet to see the floor in their 6-10 point guard Ben Simmons. You read that last sentence correctly. Simmons is a point guard with the passing ability of LeBron James. You can also add fellow big men in Okafor and Noel.
Philly has won seven out of their last 10 games and are improving by the week. They still have a long way to go in order to make the playoffs due to being seven games back out of the eight spot, but it’s still another half of season to play. The 76ers who was once the NBA’s laughing stock is now one of the exciting teams to watch. The NBA had to physically take over the team because the tanking was so obvious at one point. But was the tanking a process? Tanking did allow Philly to land Embiid, Simmons, Okafor, and Noel.
Was there actually a plan for all this madness? Time will only tell, but something is telling me that Philly will be decent sooner than later.
Player Spotlight: Kawhi Leonard
The best two-way player in the NBA…and that is San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard. Leonard may be the most underrated NBA star in the league. I couldn’t be happier that he was voted as a started, but one could make the argument he should’ve been left off for Westbrook. Over the last four games, he is averaging over 30 points.
Coach Pop was prepping Leonard to take on a bigger role for the team last season because it was now his team. He has improved every season that he has been in the league. He decided to take on that challenge and work with NBA legend Kobe Bryant in the offseason.
Obviously it has paid off due to Kawhi having a career year in scoring. He’s currently averaging 25.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 3.1 APG. You should get very familiar with his name, especially when you’re coached by one of the greatest coaches in NBA history.
Team Spotlight: Golden State Warriors
This team is ridiculous. Golden State is destroying teams at a rate that should be under investigation. Since they suffered a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors are averaging close to 119 points per game. They beat the Cavs 126-91, Thunder 121-100, and Rockets 125-108 in a three game stretch.
They currently have three players averaging over 20 points per game in Durant, Curry and Thompson. How can you stop this team? I have an easy answer for you. IT’S NOT HAPPENING!!!
I apologize, it can happen. This Warrior team does have a weakness. The interior defense and rebounding. People underestimate what Andrew Bogut meant to this team. It will show in a seven game series.
The NBA All-Star voting for starters should be revised. Fans should be allowed to vote, but not for starters. Russell Westbrook not being a starter was as horrible of a robbery as I can remember. He was robbed worse than Karl Malone championship dreams by Jordan.
It was worse than Phil Jackson robbing the Knicks for a front office position. It was worse than that last pass from Rogers than ended my hopes of any advancement for the Dallas Cowboys.
How can you average a triple double for the entire season and not be named a started amongst your peers? That’s like you being in sales and making the most sales in the entire company of Charter. Then your co- worker sells one triple play gold package and the customer tells the CEO, “he should be employee of the month because I liked him.” Sadly, they gave him the award!
I understand that this is a popularity contest, but Westbrook deserves to be an All Star starter. I say to the outraged about the outcome of the All-Star election that we demand a recount, or maybe we should protest. That seems to be the new way of making changes these days.