I woke up Sunday morning like I would any other Sunday during the NFL season. I flipped on the TV to one of the talking heads NFL preview shows. I was bored as usual with it, as even though my Detroit Lions are finally out of the doldrums for the 1st time in forever, I just didn't want to sit around all day. It was noon and already well above 70. I needed to go somewhere and do something. Why not go to down to Charleston for the final session of the Charleston Classic?
The drive down to Charleston really is quite easy for me. I don't need a GPS or even Google map directions. For me to get to the TD Arena, where the Classic was being held, all I had to do was get on Highway 17, drive for a little over 2 hours, turn left on Meeting St and you're there. I'm not sure why I have only been to Charleston 3 times in over 6 years. It is a fun town with plenty of things to do.
Since I was going in a bit blind, I wasn't sure on the specifics of where to park or how much it would cost. I remember Charleston being a bit of a maze of one way streets, but I was able to find a lot a few blocks away from the arena. Afterwards, I soon learned the lesson to always carry cash if you plan on parking in a garage. If there is no attendant you're left roaming the streets of a city you're unfamiliar with late at night looking for an ATM.
I arrived a few hours before the last session of the tournament, so I walked around town for a bit. It was happy hour, so I knew I had to catch a few beers before the 6pm tip. The Kickin Chicken was a good option as it is a small southern sports bar chain with some good food. There was a small collection of Seton Hall fans surely waiting for their later game in the upcoming session.
I made my way to the TD Arena and was very impressed with it. Then again I don't have much for comparison, but the 5100 seat arena built in 2008 for the College of Charleston is all nice and new and provides a great view no matter where you sit.
The crowd for the 3rd Place game of St Joe's of the A-14 and Tulsa was decent of about 1500. The seating was general admission which was great since I decided to move a few minutes into the game because of two slobs that decided everywhere around them was their own personal garbage can. I also wanted to sit right in between the St Joe's and Tulsa fans to get a better feel of the game.
I didn't know much about either team other than St Joe's, who was coming off a poor season, but with some really young players already had a RLU against Georgia Tech in the tournament before falling to Seton Hall. As for Tulsa, I'd been a fan of them in the mid to late 90's when they were a strong mid-major out of the MVC and WAC. They had just come off a close loss with Northwestern after beating WKU in the 1st round.
Tulsa jumped out quick with some great shooting from UConn transfer Scottie Haralson for the 10-2 lead. St Joe's also had a hot shooter as 6'2" sophomore guard Langston Galloway responded to bring the Hawks back into the game. The 1st ten minutes were back and forth as defense seemed optional with a ton of open threes, layups, and dunks.
After that flurry, the pace slowed down a bit and the defense picked up, the Hawks started to make a living at the free throw line. While St Joe's was making frequent trips to the line, one Hawks fan in particular was still none too pleased with the officiating. His voice was hoarse at the beginning of the game, so you could easily tell he had already had 2 full games of yelling previous to this. Tulsa responded with Jordan Clarkson heating up leading to a slim Tulsa lead at halftime 40-39.
The 2nd half was really fun to watch as even the impartial fans were getting into it as neither team could establish a lead. It wasn't until about 4 minutes to go that St Joe's CJ Aiken slammed home a huge putback to turn the momentum to St Joe's. While Tulsa tried to fight back, they simply couldn't stop point guard Carl Jones who closed out the game with the Hawks' final 8 points. St Joe's ended up with 3rd place in the Charleston Classic and it's 2nd RLU of the year.
I'll be looking forward to the Charleston Classic next year as they are already scheduled to have mids CofC, Dayton and Southern Illinois. I'm really glad I made the trip to Charleston instead of listening to people at the bar drone on about their fantasy teams. I'd recommend anyone get out and check out a pre season tournament if one is nearby. The cities are usually interesting and the games are always competitive.
SAINT JOSEPH'S 79, TULSA 75 11/20/2011
TULSA 3-2 (0-0) -- T. Murry 9-20 5-6 24; T. Peete 1-4 0-0 2; J. Clarkson 7-13 3-5 19; S. Haralson 9-15 0-0 24; S. Idlet 5-10 2-2 12; J. Richard 2-5 0-0 4; D. Magley 2-4 2-2 6; K. Maduka 1-4 0-0 2; E. McClellan 2-8 1-1 6; D. Medder 0-0 0-0 0; D. Wishon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-63 8-10 75. SAINT JOSEPH'S 3-1 (0-0) -- L. Galloway 9-11 0-1 23; C. Jones 7-12 4-4 19; C. Aiken 5-6 1-2 12; H. Kanacevic 1-8 2-2 4; C. Wilson 2-2 2-2 6; R. Roberts 4-9 5-7 13; P. Ndao 1-1 0-0 2; E. Maschmeyer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-49 14-18 79.
Three-point goals: TULS 9-18 (S. Idlet 0-1; S. Haralson 6-10; J. Clarkson 2-4; T. Peete 0-2; E. McClellan 1-1), SJU 7-8 (C. Jones 1-1; H. Kanacevic 0-1; C. Aiken 1-1; L. Galloway 5-5); Rebounds: TULS 27 (S. Idlet 9), SJU 25 (C. Aiken 6); Assists: TULS 6 (T. Peete 3), SJU 6 (C. Jones 2); Total Fouls -- TULS 18, SJU 13; Fouled Out: TULS-None; SJU-None.