Sports

Wofford tops W. Carolina 56-53 for SoCon title behind 23 points from Karl Cochran

  • Wofford's Lee Skinner (34) drives around Western Carolina's Kenneth Hall (1) for a layup during the first half of the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C., Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Adam Jennings)

    Wofford's Lee Skinner (34) drives around Western Carolina's Kenneth Hall (1) for a layup during the first half of the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C., Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Adam Jennings)  (The Associated Press)

  • Wofford's Karl Cochran (2) tries to block the shot of Western Carolina's Trey Sumler (5) during the first half of the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C., Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Adam Jennings)

    Wofford's Karl Cochran (2) tries to block the shot of Western Carolina's Trey Sumler (5) during the first half of the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C., Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Adam Jennings)  (The Associated Press)

  • Western Carolina's Tawaski King (32) tries to block the shot of Wofford's Lee Skinner (34) during the first half of the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C., Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Adam Jennings)

    Western Carolina's Tawaski King (32) tries to block the shot of Wofford's Lee Skinner (34) during the first half of the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville, N.C., Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Adam Jennings)  (The Associated Press)

Karl Cochran scored 23 points, and Wofford beat Western Carolina 56-53 on Monday night to capture the Southern Conference championship and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Cochran, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, was 8 of 16 from the field and had five 3-pointers. He made two big free throws with 5.3 seconds left to give Wofford a three-point lead.

The Catamounts, which never led, had a chance to send the game to overtime but Trey Sumler's 3-pointer rimmed out as time expired.

Lee Skinner had 11 points for the third-seeded Terriers (20-12), who will be making their third trip to the NCAA tournament in the last five years, but first since 2011.

Fifth-seeded Western Carolina (19-15) had another impressive comeback, but was unable to get the win this time. Brandon Boggs had 17 points, and Tawaski King added 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Catamounts made just 5 of 23 shots in the first half and trailed 27-20 at the break. James Sinclair then had a pair of jump shots in a 7-0 run to begin the second half.

It looked as if Western Carolina had the momentum at that point, but it couldn't grab the lead.

Instead, Wofford put together a 17-6 run to take its largest lead at 44-33 with 8:33 left. Cochran, a junior guard, had eight points during that key stretch.