2014 NCAA Tournament Recap: 3-Point Shot Eludes Wofford, Dooms Terriers Against Michigan

"TIM FLOYD!"

Wofford had almost every shot from long range bounce the wrong way Thursday night against Michigan and still almost made a game of it. The Wolverines escape, but just barely.

Wofford is one of the smallest teams in the NCAA. The biggest player on the team is just 6-8 and he barely plays. Most of the minutes are handled by guys that are 6-6 or smaller.

So going into a game against Michigan, a team that on average is two inches taller, you know you aren't going to get a lot of chances to make an impact inside.

Things then get very bad when you shoot just 1-for-19 from behind the 3-point arc. The end result was a 57-40 win for Michigan on a night when the Wolverines had struggles of their own.

That Wofford was able to hang for as long as they did was due to Michigan just hitting a long cold streak during the second half. The Terriers had the lead cut from 17 to seven in the middle of the second half, but the ball continued to elude the bottom of the net when they shot from long range.

It takes a lot of misfortune to shoot this badly, so much so that you do things that no one has seen happen before. Like say this:

Backboard_medium


Ladders come out, players get a breather, and they still can't find the bottom of the net.

This was a team that needed the three to work for them. They shot 35.9 percent during the season and because of their size differential, they couldn't score as easily inside against anyone.

Maybe it is just something to do with Milwaukee. BYU couldn't shoot earlier in this same arena. Maybe it just doesn't work for a team that isn't used to playing in a space like that.

But you would think something, anything would break the right way for the Terriers at some point. They just fell too far behind while the balls bounced in the wrong direction, until Karl Cochran finally ended the pain more than 30 minutes into the game.

Cochran would miss his other nine shots from long range, and go 7-for-11 on the rest of his attempts from the floor. But his 17 points was the only bright spot in the Wofford offense on this night.

The Terriers were thought to be a year away at the start of the season. Getting here to the NCAA Tournament this season was therefore a big boost for a team that thought it needed something else.

Losing here as a 15-seed, and playing as well as they did in the face of a rim and a backboard that were unkind? That can go a long way to helping a team get over that hump the next season. They know it wasn't entirely on them. Some nights luck isn't on your side.

Thursday was one of those nights. Perhaps luck will go the other way in March, 2015.

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