Game #8-406: Elon Phoenix at Charleston CougarsJanuary 14, 2012 7:00 pm
Carolina First Center
The College of Charleston had one of their toughest losses in years on Thursday night. They lost to UNCG, a team that won two games prior to this weekend. They lost by seven, and lost one of their freshman guards, Anthony Stitt for six weeks. Now, they were at 3-2 in the league, two games behind Davidson, and in third in the division, when only the top two teams get a bye.
This was troubling for many fans, who thought it would be an easy win. The Cougars couldn't focus on the bad loss for long though. After losing late Thursday night, they played Saturday night against the Elon Phoenix.
The College of Charleston and Elon have had a rivalry going for several seasons. The schools couldn't be more unlike each other. CofC is the large, public university in a major city with most students from SC or the Northeast, while Elon is a small private school (5,000 students, but was below 4,000 and non-D1 till the late 90s) that has lots of well-heeled students, mostly from NC, but others are spread across the country.
Their basketball rivalry has been heated. CofC played Elon in its last year in Division II (when CofC made the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament), and was losing in the first half before winning by only nine.
In January of 2009, Elon limited CofC to just eight points in the first half at home, including just two for the first 18 minutes of the half! If the Cougars hadn't gone on a 6-2 run at the end of that half, they would have had the lowest ever scoring output for a half in the shot clock era. CofC lost by seven. In 2008-09, they lost to Elon on the road in double OT, and they also forced them out of the conference tournament in 2007-08.
But Elon's baseball rivalries, especially with the Cougars, are just as good. Monte Lee, CofC's baseball coach, was interviewed on their radio network at halftime, causing a connection. College baseball in the Charleston area is probably bigger than any other place in the nation.
South Carolina (two-time defending national champions) and Clemson have state-wide followings. They are playing one game in early March at Riley Park (the minor league baseball stadium here), and several local columnists have said that it will be the toughest sports ticket in Charleston sports history (tougher than the Ryder Cup and this year's PGA Championship).
The Citadel and Charleston Southern are big also. CofC also has a big following, producing New York Yankees OF Brett Gardner and several other pros. Last year, when South Carolina went to CofC to play, people were actually SCALPING tickets to get in.
All of these teams' home games have highlights shown on the local news. The Southern Conference baseball tournament is a big deal here (usually held in Charleston or Greenville), and it usually gets capacity crowds. In 2008, CofC lost to Elon in the championship.
In 2010, in the SoCon Tournament, one of the wackiest games in state history occurred. The Citadel played the Phoenix in a winner's bracket game in front of a crowd of almost 3,500. Elon was up 2-1 going into the ninth inning. The Dogs were stuck in a rut. They scored two runs in the top of the ninth, but not before a huge brawl ensued, as a Citadel player ran over Elon's catcher. Elon's starting QB at the time, Scott Riddle, initiated the fight. Several players threw punches, and The Citadel's head coach separated his shoulder.
The brawl had to be seen to be believed: