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Updated with more information at 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 28, 2019.

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Wofford over UTC

Thursday night was a showcase moment for the Southern Conference and its latest nationally ranked men's basketball program — and coach Mike Young's team shined in prime time.

Wofford, ranked No. 24 by The Associated Press and No. 25 by coaches this week, extended its league record to 17-0 by beating the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 80-54 at McKenzie Arena.

The Terriers, who are 25-4 overall, had already clinched the No. 1 seed in next week's SoCon tournament, but there was no letdown as they extended a 10-point halftime lead to 28 in the first five minutes of the second half.

Despite their loss, the Mocs (12-18, 7-10) remain in fifth place in the league standings after Mercer and Samford also lost on Thursday. UTC will take a one-game lead over both teams into its regular-season finale against Furman (23-6, 12-5) at 2 p.m. Saturday at McKenzie.

The Terriers opened the second half on a killing 20-2 run, with none of the points coming from leading scorer Fletcher Magee. Big man Calvin Jackson scored seven quick points to kick-start the run, which ended with reserve post Matt Pegram hitting a 3-pointer.

"We challenged them a bit at halftime," Young said. "We don't have to raise our voice very often, but we sternly encouraged them to get on the stick. Chattanooga had outrebounded us, and that had been a strong suit for us. We needed to play better, and we did."

Magee scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer with a hand in his face after the Mocs had scored five straight to cut Wofford's lead to seven.

"The shot at the end of the half was a big one," Young said. "I wish I could recall the number of times he's bailed my tail out with big shots like that. Fletcher is a special man, a special person. I have been incredibly blessed to coach him. That guy works like an animal."

Donovann Toatley led the Mocs with 16 points off the bench. UTC, which has lost eight of its past 10 games, was playing its third consecutive contest without Kevin Easley, the freshman who leads the team in scoring and rebounding this season but is trying to recover from an ankle injury.

The Mocs hit just four of their 26 shots from behind the 3-point arc and often settled for long-range jumpers when the visitors' lead began to grow.

"We have to play better, compete better," UTC coach Lamont Paris said. "Performance is part of it. I don't think we broke any records with our 3-point shooting, but we just have to compete better.

"That's the bottom line in this sport. When things go poorly for you, you have to find some things you can do to turn it around."

The Mocs were down just two with less than seven minutes to play in the first half, but Storm Murphy hit three baskets — his only three of the game — in a two-minute span just before Magee was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. Magee's three free throws pushed the lead into double digits for the first time.

"Fletcher Magee is a terrific shooter, and when guys like that get going it's hard," Toatley said. "They are all capable shooters. When you have a team that can space the floor like that and have someone like Jackson who can dominate inside, it's tough. The run they made in the second half and Jackson's physicality keyed that. It blew the game over."

UTC managed to get the second-half lead to less than 20 on Ramon Vila's layup with just less than 10 minutes to play, but the Terriers answered with a swift 9-0 run to put any Mocs' comeback hopes out of mind.

"At some point the hope of realistically winning the game happens one way or the other," Paris said. "Sometimes it happens on the final shot, and sometimes it happens with 13 minutes left in the game. That could have been the case with us, but we just didn't make enough plays."

Jackson backed Magee with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, with Nathan Hoover adding 11 points.

UTC's David Jean-Baptiste and Vila each scored 10 points.

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6296. Follow him on Twitter @youngsports22.

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