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Cochran' spurt helps Wofford beat Hampton

The SportsXchange

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Karl Cochran picked the right time to kick his offense into gear, propelling Wofford to a 56-51 victory over Hampton on Friday afternoon at Trask Coliseum on the UNC Wilmington campus.

Cochran scored seven consecutive points as the Terriers, who trailed most of the game, made their final push.

"It was just my team supporting, telling me to keep going, keep driving," said Cochran, who was 6-for-22 from the field. "It has been a real struggle. We keep playing hard and our coach told us it was going to click."

Cochran, a sophomore guard, followed his scoring spurt with a steal, feeding teammate Lee Skinner for a layup as Wofford (2-4) concluded a 9-0 run by building a 49-43 edge.

It was Wofford's first win against a Division I opponent this season.

Nearly 21/2 minutes passed before the game's first field goal and such scoring difficulties continued for much of the game.

Skinner, a sophomore forward, finished with career-high 21 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Cochran added 18 points. David Bruce led Hampton (0-4) with 10 points.

Wofford overcame a 13-point first-half deficit.

"To say the least, it wasn't really pleasing to watch," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "But we'll take it any way we can get it. We caught a break today."

The Terriers shot 32.1 percent (18 of 56) from the field.

So it was a defensive play that seemed most relevant. Cochran's steal and pitch to Skinner provided a two-possession cushion with 56 seconds left, the type of separation that seemed significant in a game like this, Young said.

"It was a huge play," Young said. "Players make plays."

All nine of Cochran's second-half points came in the last eight minutes.

"And some of them were tough shots," said Hampton coach Edward Joyner Jr., who spent about 45 minutes in a post-game meeting with his team.

Hampton would have tied the game if Deron Powers had made his 3-point attempt with 26 seconds to go. But he missed, leaving Wofford with a three-point lead.

After grabbing the rebound, Skinner canned two free throws to make it a five-point game.

Jarell Byrd added two foul shots at the 15.2-second mark, and Skinner added two more free throws to clinch it with 6.3 seconds left.

"It all became frustrating in the second half," Joyner said. "We didn't have the right amount of energy in the second half."

Hampton managed just 10 points over the first 13 minutes of the second half and still held a 37-35 advantage. Jasper Williams hit a 3-pointer to break a scoring drought.

But Wofford finally pulled even at 40-40 with 5:18 remaining on Skinner's 3-pointer from the left corner. It was tied again at 43-43 when Cochran connected on a 3 from about the same spot.

"When one drops, you think you got it going," Cochran said. "All of us have been struggling. We're going to get there eventually."

Cochran drained 1 of 3 free throws at the 2:20 mark as the Terriers led for the first time since the opening minutes. He bagged a 3-pointer with a hand in his face on Wofford's next possession.

The Pirates held a 23-12 edge following Du'Vaughn Maxwell's steal and dunk with less than three minutes to play in the first half. The margin reached 13 points before Wofford closed within 27-19 by halftime.

Only three Terriers scored in the first half. Skinner tallied six of the Wofford's first 11 points of the second half, and Spencer Collins' 3-pointer brought the Terriers within 34-33 with less than nine minutes to play.

Bruce, a 6-foot-10 center, scored eight of Hampton's first 16 points, but he didn't score again until a putback off a rebound with 7.5 seconds left.

"(We) just have to maintain it the last few minutes of the game and close out games," Bruce said.

The Pirates shot 50 percent (12 of 24) in the first half, when they committed half of their 24 turnovers. Wofford was good on 25 percent (7 of 28) in the opening half.

The game, part of the Nations of Coaches Classic, featured two teams that played in the NCAA Tournament as recent as 2011. Both figure to have a ways to go to return to that level.

Wofford and UNC Wilmington meet Saturday afternoon before Hampton faces UNC Wilmington on Sunday afternoon.

Notes: Hampton is 1-7 against teams currently in the Southern Conference. ... Young, who's in his 11th season as head coach, is 158-157 overall. ... Cochran, the 2011-12 Southern Conference Freshman of the Year, has led Wofford in scoring in all but two games.
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