No. 24 Wofford aims for perfect SoCon run at Samford

Wofford goes for Southern Conference perfection against Samford on Saturday afternoon at the Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.

The No. 24 Terriers (25-4, 17-0 Southern Conference) need this road win to complete the regular season with an unblemished league mark. They also are trying to make sure their coach is happy.

No team from the Southern Conference has gone undefeated in regular-season league play since Davidson's 2007-08 team -- the one that included Stephen Curry and reached an NCAA regional final.

But in Thursday night's 80-54 victory against Chattanooga -- a game in which the Terriers played for the first time in program history while holding a national ranking -- it took time to get cranked up. Coach Mike Young noticed that.

"I was less than satisfied with that first half," Young said.

Now, the finish line is near for this part of the journey.

"As we said after the ranking came out on Monday, there's no time to exhale," Young said.

Keeping the team focused is one of the challenges, but maybe playing on the road can help in that regard. Young said there has been quite a bit of celebration around campus based on the team's new status as a ranked team.

Wofford has had a few close calls in league play, perhaps most notably a 107-106 overtime victory at home against Samford on Jan. 24. Storm Davis hit a game-winning jumper at the buzzer.

"We know that every team is going to give us their best shot," Wofford junior guard Nathan Hoover said. "Samford was a very tough game at home."

Samford junior guard Brandon Austin, a transfer from Alabama, scored a career-high 31 points in that game. Wofford senior guard Fletcher Magee also tallied 31 points in that matchup, including a 3-point basket with 8 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

Magee leads the country in 3-pointers with 131 after his 5-for-7 performance at Chattanooga. That's not a good omen for Samford, which has surrendered 291 baskets from 3-point range this season, marking the second-highest total allowed by a Southern Conference team.

Furman hit 13 shots from beyond the arc in Thursday night's game at Samford.

Wofford has three career 1,000-point scorers on the team after Hoover joined seniors Magee and Cameron Jackson on that list Thursday night. Hoover hit a 3-point shot to reach the milestone.

Samford (16-14, 6-11) has lost three games in a row, including Thursday night's 90-81 home setback to Furman.

Some of the recent high-scoring games against Samford tend to be disturbing. Earlier this winter, coach Scott Padgett, in a report in the student-run The Samford Crimson, said: "I think we have more size, length and athleticism than we've ever had in the program. We have had a big emphasis on defense."

If Samford can keep it close, though, there could be a reward. The Bulldogs have played in five overtime games in conference play, going 2-3 in those games. They are 3-4 overall in overtime outings this season.

Samford is 11-5 at home.

--Field Level Media

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