CHAMPIONS! ETSU downs Wofford to win SoCon championship, bid to NCAA Tournament


ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WJHL) — The Bucs are going dancing!

The ETSU men’s basketball team defeated Wofford on Monday night to clinch the Southern Conference Tournament championship and punch a ticket to the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 

In a 72-58 victory over the defending SoCon champions, the Bucs won their second conference tournament title of the Steve Forbes era and grabbed their 30th win this season, which was already the winningest season in program history. 

The Bucs also got revenge over the team that defeated them in last year’s SoCon Tournament semifinals. 

ETSU came out on fire at the start of the first half, jumping to a 11-2 lead in the first three minutes after three-pointers by Isaiah Tisdale, Tray Boyd III, and Daivien Williamson plus a layup by Bo Hodges. But Wofford made a run of its own to tie the game at 11 points.

The Bucs were then plagued by turnovers and a slowdown in scoring, allowing the Terriers to gain a five-point lead with about eight minutes left in the half. ETSU battled back, however, tieing the game at 26 points with a three-pointer by Patrick Good with just over four minutes left.

Tisdale scored 10 points in the final minutes to give ETSU a 36-31 lead going into halftime.

The Bucs extended their lead to 12 points midway through the second half. The Terriers would pull to within 10 points, but weren’t able to shake ETSU’s double-digit lead through the rest of the game.

Tisdale led ETSU in scoring with 24 points. Boyd scored 11 points and made three assists. Daivien Williamson scored five points and logged four assists and two steals. Hodges made eight rebounds while Joe Hugley logged seven.

The Bucs shot 49 percent (23-47) from the field, 43 percent (9-12) from beyond the arc, and made 17 of 19 free throws.

Chevez Goodwin led in scoring for the Terriers with 18 points. Tray Hollowell put up 13 points.

After securing the outright regular season title and top seed in the conference tournament, ETSU advanced to the championship game by defeating VMI 70-57 in the quarterfinals and dismantling Western Carolina 97-75 in the semifinals. 

Wofford, which entered the tournament as the No. 7 seed, upset No. 2 Furman 77-68 before taking down No. 6 Chattanooga 72-70.

Last season, the Terriers went undefeated in conference play, won the SoCon Tournament, and defeated No. 10 Seaton Hall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 2 Kentucky. 

They went into Monday’s championship game 19-5 overall and 8-10 in the conference. 

ETSU swept Wofford in the regular season, beating them by one point on the road and six points inside Freedom Hall. 

Under head coach Steve Forbes, ETSU has won two SoCon Tournament championships and made four appearances in the title game over the past five years. Since taking over the program in 2015, he has led the Bucs to five straight seasons of 24 or more wins. 

This championship marks the program’s eighth SoCon Tournament title. The last one came in the 2016-17 season when the Bucs defeated UNCG 62-47 for the championship. The team earned a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they were dealt an 80-65 loss by No. 4 Florida in the first round. 

The 2020 NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed on Selection Sunday, which is next Sunday. The selection show will begin at 6 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CBS. 

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