ETSU Clinches Auto-Bid, Beats Wofford in SoCon Final

East Tennessee State forward Joe Hugley (21) celebrates his team’s win over Wofford for the NCAA men’s college basketball championship in the Southern Conference tournament, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Asheville, N.C. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

ASHEVILLE, NC – Other bubble teams just breathed a huge sigh of relief, after a possible at-large contender in Eastern Tennessee State Buccaneers defeated the possible bid stealer Terriers of Wofford. The Buccaneers came into the game and the SoCon Tournament as favorites, over the likes of UNC Greensboro, Furman, and the aforementioned Wofford Terriers. In the big picture, if the Bucs’ had not won the conference tournament, it would’ve been a nerve-racking Selection Sunday. Instead, this team has nothing to worry about and will see have to where they land, most likely on anywhere on the 9-12 line.

The teams exchanged buckets for the most part in the first half, with the Terriers actually leading for a decent portion, with their biggest lead of 24-19 with around 8 minutes left in the first. However, the Bucs’ went on a run to end the half up by 5, 36-31. After the break, Wofford again pulled back to only trail by 2 with 15 minutes left, 40-38, but the Buccaneers responded either stronger going on a 12-0 run after that mark. The game finished out fairly anti-climatic, as the favorites won by a score of 72-58.

ETSU was lead by Isaiah Tisdale, who led all scorers as well with 24 while shooting 4/7 behind the arc. Wofford was lead by Chevez Goodwin who had 18 in the losing effort.

In the post-game press conference, ETSU Coach Steve Forbes commented on the teams unbelievable season: “Thirty wins, I’m not sure where we stand in East Tennessee State history, but if there is a Mount Rushmore this team is on it.” As Forbes mentioned, the 30 win mark is a huge achievement and is evidence teams should take this squad seriously come tournament time.

The Bucs’ will return to Johnson City, where they will wait patiently to see where the selection committee places them. As for the Terriers, they got further than expected in the SoCon Tournament, and while they didn’t win the tournament, it was an impressive feat for a team that lost so much after last season’s remarkable run.

Bracketology Effect: East Tennessee actually moves from the 10 in the South to the 11 in the West. They are projected to play the 6th seeded West Virginia Mountaineers.

Betting Effect: Covered: ETSU -7.5, Under 131.5

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