In a tucked-away corner of the basketball arena in downtown Asheville, N.C., underneath the stands and outside the door to the Wofford locker room, there was deafening quiet behind the overpowering sound of a different school’s band that would soon be silenced as well.

Only a handful of players and coaches lingered. Their heads were down. For once, no talking. They were spread out, nobody even close to anybody else. Wofford had just lost in the Southern Conference tournament semfinals by one point to UNC Greensboro, which would go on to win the next day and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Dreams were dashed.

Derrick Brooks, the Terriers’ only senior, came walking through the tunnel from the court, just a silhouette against the bright lights behind him. He had stayed out there as long as possible.

Other players had showered and dressed, but he was still proud in his uniform. He might never have taken it off. Brooks wanted just one more chance to play. And he would stay in that No. 1 jersey, if necessary, until that opportunity came.

It came. Wofford (21-12) did not make the NCAA tournament, of course, or even the NIT for best of the rest. But the Terriers accepted an invitation to the College Insider Tournament and will play host at 7 p.m. Friday to Central Michigan at the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium.

“This gives me the opportunity to put on the uniform again and represent the college the way I want,” Brooks said. “Regardless of what the tournament is, the next game we play is important. We’re going to go out there and fight as if it’s the last game we ever play.”

For Brooks, it very well could be the last. He thought that might have come in February, when he broke his right wrist after being knocked to the floor going for a rebound that most guards don’t even try to get. His missed six games and returned for senior day, the regular-season finale against Mercer, and exposed his weakness by never attempting a field goal. And when he was fouled, he shot and missed two free throws left-handed.

“I was just trying to get myself prepared to do whatever I could do to help the team,” Brooks said. “Coming in and getting a rebound every now and then or providing some energy off the bench. The plan wasn’t necessarily to get me back for a regular-season game, but to make sure I was ready to play in the tournament. By the time senior day came around, I thought I was ready. My wrist wasn’t as loose as I wanted it to be, but it was something I thought I could play with. Why not?”

Brooks felt much better in the tournament, playing right-handed and helping the Terriers avenge the one-point loss to Mercer with a 20-point victory in the quarterfinals. He still wasn’t himself, though. His shot looked different and he went 0-for-4, including a couple of close-range bank shots.

“It looked different because I couldn’t use my thumb,” Brooks said. “But I had been practicing that shot and I should have made those.”

In the semifinals against UNCG, Brooks played only 14 minutes but made crucial plays down the stretch. He had back-to-back rebounds, one on the defensive end and one to keep an offensive possession alive. He made two free throws (right-handed) to tie the game at 49 with 4:07 to play.

“Two huge foul shots. Two huge rebounds,” Wofford head coach Mike Young said. “It took us a while to get squared away when he went down. He’s the emotional leader. The guys really respond to him. He’s a team guy and a Wofford man.”