ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP)Isaiah Tisdale scored 24 points and top-seeded East Tennessee State defeated upset-minded Wofford 72-58 to win the Southern Conference Tournament on Monday night and earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Tray Boyd added 11 points for the Bucs, who become only the fourth team in conference history to win 30 games. It will be ETSU’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2017.
Seventh-seeded Wofford (19-16) was looking to become the first SoCon team since Clemson in 1939 to win four games to capture the conference tournament title after beating The Citadel, Furman and Chattanooga to reach the finals. The Terriers entered the tournament having lost their final seven regular season games, but found some magic in Asheville with an impressive tournament run.
But the Terriers appeared to run out of gas in the second half, falling behind by 15 when Jeromy Rodriguez scored an a spinning drive with four minutes remaining.
Chevez Goodwin had 18 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field to lead Wofford.
ETSU shot 9 of 21 from 3-point range, while Wofford was just 6 of 25.
Tisdale was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
He came into the game averaging 8.8 points per game but had 16 points at halftime, helping the Bucs build a 36-31 lead. Tisdale did most of his damage with strong drives to the hole that got him to the free throw line, where he made 10 of 11 foul shots.
Wofford: Had won five of the last 10 SoCon Tournament titles under former coach Mike Young, but couldn’t quite finish under first-year coach Jay McAulay despite an impressive tournament run after losing their final seven regular season games. This was Wofford’s first ever loss in the SoCon title game. This team is extremely scrappy and plays with tremendous heart but just appeared to run out of gas in the second half.
ETSU: The Bucs are a 30-win team, so they shouldn’t be considered an easy out in the NCAAs by any stretch of the imagination. They have the speed, height and shooting to compete with some quality teams in the tournament.
Wofford: Will wait to hear if they receive an invite to the National Invitation Tournament.
ETSU: Will await word on their seed in the NCAA Tournament.
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