I'm surprised it has taken as long as it has for me to see a College of Charleston game in Charleston. I've been to Charleston several times this season to see The Citadel and Charleston Southern and I was already in the TD Arena this season for the Charleston Classic. Since Joe Wright has been doing a great job of covering CofC's home games, I've been putting off making the trip since he had things well covered. I knew at some point though I'd have to catch at least one of their home games. It took until the last home game of the season for me to slot in a game where I could travel down and that would be against Georgia Southern.
I'm guessing for TV purposes the game was scheduled for 8pm, so I wasn't going to complain about that. This would give me ample time to go to Charleston from work without being in a rush. Ian McCormick has already discussed how cramped Charleston is, and without proper planning you may miss your game time. All the planning in the world can't prevent some of the obstacles in the city though.
I scoped out a parking garage ahead of time that was pretty cheap and wasn't too far from TD Arena off of Ann St. Getting to said parking garage was a different story though as traversing the one way streets can be tricky at times. I could see the garage I could get to, but finding the correct entrance was the problem. While watching out for a steady stream of cars, pedestrians, and horse and buggies, I thought I found a way to the entrance, but was eventually blocked by a bus that I couldn't get around, nor did I have enough room to turn around. It was frustrating, but after a few minutes the mini traffic jam finally cleared and I was able to park.
The next objective was getting some food before the game and I had a place in mind called Closed For Business, which has been getting some good pub lately. The problem for me was try to find the place. I had looked on a map before driving down and had a general idea of where to go, but had lost my bearings when circling around to find the parking garage.
I figured now was as good of a time as any to use my new smart phone. I've only had a Droid and a data plan for about a week, so getting that to work while walking the streets of Charleston was fickle. I did get a map to come up only to realize I was walking the wrong way. I ended up finding Closed For Business and while it was open, there were no seats available. That wasn't too big of an issue because in Charleston you only have to walk a few feet to find another really good place to eat and drink at. I ended up at Juanita Greenberg's which was a good choice for a quick fresh steak taco and a cerveza (unfortunately no horchata though).
I couldn't stay there long though since the game was starting soon. I was really glad to see when I got to TD Arena that the students had packed the house and were active and loud the whole game. I figured the whole arena would be filled to the brim, but much of the upper sections where I was sitting were maybe half full.
It was Senior Night for the Cougars and they only had one player they were honoring tonight, Antwaine Wiggins, the leading scorer. Wiggins has had a solid career at CofC and is in the tops of several career statistical categories.
With the strong emotion for the Cougars came a dominating start to the game. It took 8 full minutes for Georgia Southern to score their first basket. By then the Cougars had scored the first 13 and they kept pouring it on forcing a total of 13 first half turnovers from the Eagles. It was a tough stretch for GSU, but they were able to settle down eventually. They were able to hit a few shots consecutively and cut into a 17 point lead to trail by 7 at the half.
The Eagles' push continued coming out of the half and was assisted by the Cougars with some technical fouls after complaining a bit too much. The Cougars could have stopped the momentum from Georgia Southern, but a bunch of bricks from the charity stripe weren't helping matters either.
To avoid a loss on the last home game of the season, CofC needed someone to step up and they got that in the form of Trent Wiedeman. Anytime GSU would get within a bucket or take a one point lead it was Wiedeman who was there to answer with confident play in the post. His effort and a big three from a returning Anthony Stitt swung the momentum in favor of the Cougars. The Eagles did have a few chances to tie or take the lead late but faltered, they were forced to foul and while free throws were a problem most of the game, Andrew Lawrence calmly squelched any doubt left and led CofC to victory.
After being in so many small gyms with lackluster enthusiasm even though the games were really close at times, it was fun to be in a game with a raucous atmosphere. It's too late for me to go to anymore Charleston games this year, but I'll be looking forward to making the trip when next year rolls around.
at CHARLESTON 58, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 53 02/23/2012
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 14-13 (12-5) -- B. Drayton III 4-9 0-0 10; W. Powers III 8-12 0-0 17; J. Hewitt 0-8 2-4 2; M. Baynham 2-4 0-0 4; E. Ferguson 3-6 2-4 8; J. Pernell 1-3 0-0 3; C. Baskerville 1-1 0-0 2; T. Bussey 2-4 0-0 5; T. Brown 1-1 0-0 2; K. Dunnican 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 4-8 53. CHARLESTON 18-11 (9-8) -- A. Lawrence 2-6 4-7 10; A. Wiggins 3-7 2-6 10; T. Wiedeman 8-13 2-5 18; N. Johnson 2-5 1-2 5; A. Baru 2-5 0-0 4; A. Stitt 1-6 0-0 3; M. Sundberg 2-4 0-0 5; J. Scott 1-1 0-0 3; J. Carlton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-47 9-20 58.
Three-point goals: GS 5-16 (W. Powers 1-3; B. Drayton 2-4; E. Ferguson 0-1; J. Hewitt 0-4; T. Bussey 1-2; J. Pernell 1-2), COFC 7-17 (A. Wiggins 2-5; M. Sundberg 1-2; A. Lawrence 2-4; N. Johnson 0-2; J. Scott 1-1; A. Stitt 1-3); Rebounds: GS 29 (E. Ferguson 7), COFC 23 (A. Baru 6); Assists: GS 9 (W. Powers 4), COFC 14 (A. Lawrence 7); Total Fouls -- GS 16, COFC 8; Fouled Out: GS-None; COFC-None.