CU men's basketball preview: Wofford
MATCHUP: Wofford Terriers (1-4) at Colorado Buffaloes (4-1).
GAME TIME: Sunday, noon, Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Radio — 760 AM; TV — Pac-12 Network.
COACHES: Wofford — Mike Young, 15th season (233-213 at Wofford and overall); Colorado — Tad Boyle, seventh season (134-81, 190-147 overall).
LEADERS: Wofford — Scoring: G Fletcher Magee, So., 15.2 ppg; Rebounding: F Cameron Jackson, So., and F Ryan Sawvell, Sr., 4.6 rpg; Assists: G Eric Garcia, Sr., 3.0 apg; Colorado — G Derrick White, Sr., 14.4 ppg; Rebounding: F Wesley Gordon, Sr., 9.6 rpg; Assists: White, 4.2 apg.
NOTABLE: CU is 2-0 against Wofford, winning at home on Feb. 24, 1997 and Nov. 9, 2012...Wofford attempts an average of 21.8 3-pointers per game...With 727 career rebounds going into the game, Gordon should move past Vince Kelley (730) for seventh-place among CU's all-time leaders. It likely will not be until well into Pac-12 play that Gordon can reach sixth-place (Jim Davis, 863 rebounds)...The Buffs have won 21 of their past 22 home games...CU hosts state rival Colorado State on Wednesday night.
Theirs has been a competitive rivalry neither player probably ever believed would continue at the college level.
Five years ago both Derrick White and Eric Garcia were solid if somewhat overlooked basketball recruits out of Colorado who weren't quite ticketed for the biggest stages NCAA basketball has to offer.
White, then a standout at Legend High School in Parker, needed a late growth spurt and a Division II All-American career at UCCS before finding his way to Boulder to play one season of Division I basketball with the Colorado Buffaloes.
Garcia, a frequent rival of White's on the club scene, left Grandview High in Aurora as the school's all-time leader in points and assists, yet he nonetheless settled for a home at the mid-major level at Wofford College.
White and Garcia worked out together frequently last summer, and on Sunday they will cross paths once again when Garcia's Wofford Terriers take on the Buffs at the Coors Events Center (noon, Pac-12 Network).
"Eric Garcia, I worked out with him all summer and you can't take them lightly," White said. "They're a good team and we've got to stay focused.
"He's a year younger than me but I used to play against him all the time. Last summer, he was here all summer so we'd play pickup and hang out. It will be good to go out and compete against him. I'm sure he's going to have a lot of people here cheering for him."
While Wofford has stumbled out of the gate and brings a three-game losing streak to Boulder, the Terriers have enjoyed a respectable level of success under head coach Mike Young. Wofford has won four Southern Conference championships since 2010 and, like the Buffs, the Terriers have reached the NCAA Tournament four times during that span.
Garcia is Wofford's second-leading scorer at 10.2 points per game and is the leading sharpshooter on a team connecting at a solid .440 rate from 3-point range. Garcia has knocked down 13 of 22 3-point attempts and owns an impressive assist-to-turnover rate of 2.14.
"They've got a kid from Colorado, Eric Garcia from Grandview High School, who is a terrific player," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "He's going back home and going to play one of the biggest games of his career with his family and friends back here. They've got some guards who can really shoot the ball. They use screens very, very well. They shoot the ball well from three, and they've got some guys inside that can score.
"They're a good, solid basketball team. Well coached. We're going to have to just do what we do and do it well, and we'll be OK. But if we fall asleep, if we take them lightly, they're a team that can come in and get hot and give us all we want."