Buzzer beat gives Wofford upset of three seed UNCG in SoCon Tourney

Photo credit Wofford Athletic Dept.

In the final 25 seconds of the 2023 Southern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday night there were four lead changes, the last coming when Wofford got the ball with three seconds. B.J. Mack scored with no time left on the clock for a 67-66 victory over UNC Greensboro at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville to advance.

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The sixth seeded Terriers held a five-point lead at 63-58 with 2:56 to play, but a six-point run gave the three seed UNC Greensboro the lead with 25 seconds to play. A B.J. Mack layup with nine seconds left gave Wofford a 65-64 advantage, but Dante Treacy score to give the Spartans a 66-65 lead with only 3.1 seconds to play.

Wofford inbounded the ball across midcourt and call a timeout, which was followed up by a UNCG foul, the team’s sixth of the half. That would leave only 2.6 seconds on the clock for the Terriers.

Freshman Jackson Paveletzke would get the inbounds pass in over Mohammed Abdulsalam to Mack who backed down Abdulsalam inside and got a contested layup off with under a second to play.

“They scored to go up one with under four seconds left,” said interim head coach Dwight Perry. “Every day in practice at the end of shoot around we always go over end of game situations. We drew up the play and knew we had one timeout left and wanted to get the ball to half court so we would be in a position to get a better shot. We executed that last play to perfection and B.J. got fouled so we drew up a different play. All of those plays we have worked on, and that’s the easy part but the hard part was the what those guys did. They deserved what they had happen at the end.”

“It was a great pass from Paveletzke and it was a great call,” said B.J. Mack. “We knew coming into this that we were doubted and our backs were against the wall and we had to push through it.”

Wofford (17-15) was led on the night by Mack with 16 points and eight rebounds. Paveletzke and senior Messiah Jones both added 14 in the winning effort.

“I wasn’t really feeling a lot of pressure, there’s a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into that. My main thought going into every game is just to play my game and do what we’ve done all season,” Paveletzke said.

UNCG (20-12) was led by Keondre Kennedy who scored a game high 26 points and Daunte Treacy who added 13 points.

In the first half, Wofford had a 30-29 lead when the Spartans went on a 7-0 run and took a 36-31 advantage into the break. UNCG would extend the lead to as many as seven points in the second half before the Terriers used a 12-3 run to take a 50-48 lead with under ten minutes to play. Overall there were 13 lead changes and seven ties in the game.

Wofford will now prepare for a 6:30 p.m. semifinal contest against the #7 seed Chattanooga Mocs, led by the returning Jake Stephens who has starred in the first two Moc wins so far.

“It’s a Chattanooga team that’s really good,” said Perry. “We know this league is a great league top to bottom. Not just with players, but with coaches too. Obviously, Chattanooga is a really good and really experienced team and they happen to have one of the best players in the league back. Jake Stephens is playing really well, he adds another dimension to their team. We also do a lot of things really well and I believe that if we play our game we will go out there and get the win.”

A win vs the Mocs in the Semifinals would put Wofford in the SoCon Finals on Monday night. It could be an all-Upstate showdown in the Finals if Furman downs Western Carolina and Wofford beats Chattanooga on Sunday.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Wofford Athletic Dept.