Asheville, N.C. -
Western Carolina's game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer hit the backboard and rattled off as Wofford escaped the Catamounts in a 56-53 pressure packed Southern Conference Championship Monday night in the US Cellular Center.
Brandon Boggs paced the Catamounts with 17 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Tawaski King added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Tournament Most Outstanding Player Karl Cochran led Wofford with a game-high 23 points including a 5-10 performance from three-point range. He added five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Lee Skinner chipped in 11 points and eight boards.
The Terriers built an 11-point lead in the second half. Jaylen Allen's layup at 8:43 made it 44-33 and capped seven unanswered points for the three seed.
Western chipped away at the lead. Six straight points from Boggs followed by a slam dunk from King got the Cats within three, 46-43, with 4:13 to play. It was still a three-point margin when Cochran struck from deep. His trey at 1:27 pushed the lead back to six, 51-45.
It's not call March Madness for nothing. King's tip-in with just over 35 seconds remaining got the Catamounts to within three again, 53-50. Four straight fouls on in-bounds plays finally got Wofford to the bonus.
Spencer Collins stepped to the line and missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Skinner was there to grab the offensive board. He was fouled and made one of two to make it a two-possession game with just under 30 seconds remaining.
Boggs came up big again. His three-pointer with eight ticks left made it a one-point game again. Cochran was fouled on the inbounds play and calmly sank two free throws with 5.3 to play. Drama unfolded.
After a Wofford timeout, Western's Trey Sumler pushed the ball up the court. He stopped, pump faked creating space and got a decent look from 21 feet. It caromed off as Wofford claimed the win.
It was a tough ending for a special group of seniors. King's jumper with 18:34 left in the game gave him his 1,000th career point. He joins fellow seniors Sumler and Boggs in reaching the scoring plateau. The class played in two Southern Conference title tilts and provided some of the most exciting moments in the three years since the event moved back to Asheville.
Karl Cochran (Most Outstanding Player)
De'Mon Brooks, Davidson Brandon Boggs, Western Carolina James Sinclair, Western Carolina
Karl Cochran, Wofford
Lee Skinner, Wofford
Ashton Moore, The Citadel
Z. Mason, Chattanooga Tawaski King, Western Carolina Trey Sumler, Western Carolina
Eric Garcia, Wofford
Southern Conference Championship Game: Western Carolina vs. Wofford
- With the loss, WCU ends its season - barring any postseason action -- at 19-15 and falls in the Southern Conference Championship game for the second time in three seasons.
- WCU slips to 1-3 in Southern Conference Championship games ... WCU has lost the three combined games by seven points ... The Catamounts lost 63-61 to Chattanooga in the 1995 championship game, 93-91 in double overtime to Davidson in the 2012 game and 56-53 Monday night to Wofford.
- With two free throws at 1:59 in the first half Tawaski King became the 44th Catamount to pass 1,000 career points ... He joins teammates Trey Sumler and Brandon Boggs on the current WCU roster ... King finishes with 1,009 career points ranking him 43rd all-time.
- With his nine points Monday, Trey Sumler ends his Catamount career with 1,996 career points ... He is the all-time leading scorer since WCU joined the Southern Conference.
- Brandon Boggs tallied a game-high 17 points lifting him into 19th place on the all-time scoring lists with 1,370 points.
- The 2013-14 team broke the single-season blocks record during the year ... WCU finished with 165 blocks on the season.