So, you were told to watch the first and last games of the night.
Those two games were determined by a total of 46 points, while the other two featured one overtime game and the other was a two-point win.
Wofford and Mercer looked the part of teams that have tournament experience. They both came out and took it to their opponents early to take the fight out of the underdog, and it happened. They were both very impressive.
Western Carolina tried to do the same thing to ETSU, jumping out to an early lead and then holding on for dear life the rest of the night. The Bucs eventually forced overtime, but Western Carolina was able to pull away. ETSU's Jalen Riley did not have a good afternoon. As the SoCon's leading scorer, the Bucs really needed him to be successful.
The major story coming out of Asheville was the shocking upset by the last place Paladins over the second place Mocs. Furman played reasonably well, though Stephen Croone did not have a particularly good night. Everyone stepped up for Furman. That being said, the Mocs jumped out to an early ten point lead, and then watched the lead dissolve.
Once the lead went away, you could sense the team and the coaching staff tense up. The pressure became overwhelming for a program that has been so successful over the years, but somehow has not won even one conference tournament game in six seasons. They did not play loose and easy.
Sunday's match-ups are now completel. The schedule is as follows:
- Wofford vs. Western Carolina, 6 PM
- Mercer vs. Furman, 8:30 PM
These two match-ups both have clear favorites. Wofford and Mercer are huge favorites to advance to the SoCon Championship Game at this point. Wofford has hammered Western Carolina twice this year. That being said, Western Carolina has had quite a few special nights in Asheville in the last several years. They can certainly pull off the upset if they play a very solid game, though the Terriers have to be feeling better about their chances now that Chattanooga is out of the tournament.
In the other semifinal, Mercer and Furman have played two very competitive games against each other. Mercer was 12-6 in the SoCon and Furman was 5-13, but the Bears have won two close games against Furman. Could it be possible that Furman pulls off another shocking upset and gets to the Championship Game?
Of course it is possible. Stranger things have certainly happened. Furman may be growing up before our eyes. They have won back-to-back games against D1 teams for the first time this year. Mercer is another team that has to be glad to see Chattanooga out of the tournament.
Player of the Day: James Sinclair, Western Carolina
All-Tournament Team for Friday:
Mike Brown, Western Carolina
Spencer Collins, Wofford
TJ Hallice, Mercer
Kayel Locke, UNCG
James Sinclair, Western Carolina
Wofford 70, UNCG 52
Western Carolina 67, ETSU 61 (OT)
Furman 69, Chattanooga 67
Mercer 89, VMI 61