Game #9-009: Towson at Charleston CougarsNovember 9, 2012 7:30 pm
Carolina First Center
College basketball is a sport which can unite universities, no matter who is playing. Unlike college football, where FCS teams and FBS teams have huge gaps between each other, even within their divisions (look at the difference between say Davidson in football, compared to Appalachian State a few dozen miles away). College baseball, huge here, has large differences between the haves in the SEC and the have-nots in conferences like the MEAC.
In college basketball though, 347 teams have a chance at the beginning of each season. Some can't make the postseason due to academics, but every team can upset the big time schools, and every team has a dream at the beginning of their season.
The College of Charleston started the Doug Wojcik era with this game. Wojcik comes after being let go from Tulsa. Strangely, last year, one of the games I saw in the Charleston Classic (which Tulsa participated in) was a game against Western Kentucky. Nobody thought that Bobby Cremins was going to retire in the way that he did last year.
Wojcik changed the philosophy this year in Charleston. Gone are the Cremins days of shooting as many as 30 3-pointers in a game, passing up open looks at the basket for 3-point tries. In is a new philosophy of defense and hustle. Rebounds are very important, and the perimeter game still shows, but in not as a big of a way.
Towson had a very difficult season last year. They won but once, over UNC-Wilmington. They do come back this year with 3 Big East transfers in Bilal Dixon, Jerrelle Benimon and Mike Burwell. Coach Pat Skerry is in his 2nd season with the Tigers.
Here in the Lowcountry, college basketball starts in obscurity. The big-time football programs Clemson and South Carolina garner most of the attention until their regular seasons end, with The Citadel gaining the crumbs. The ill-fated Carrier Classic this year on the Yorktown got lots of media coverage.
High school football is also a huge deal in this area, like it is in most of the South. Several of our big local schools had playoff games on this Friday night. Wando, a school in one of the biggest territories for CofC (Mt. Pleasant), had about 5,000 fans at their playoff game. All 3 local TV stations show high school football programs in their sportscasts on Friday nights.
This meant CofC was kind of under the radar in our area (unlike in Baltimore, where the game aired on 50,000 watt AM WBAL). The game was about 900 fans short of a sell-out (5,100).
The atmosphere was still very good. The student section was mostly filled, and they got very excited during pregame introductions, which were changed this year. Now, they show some clips of the Cougars previous history; including when John Kresse took the Cougars to the NAIA national championship in 1983 and won.
The game got out of hand quickly. Towson never led, and late in the first half the Cougs led them 31-9 after a 13-0 run. The game was pretty much over after about halfway through the first half. The score was 40-14 at halftime. It looked like a major blowout.
The Tigers cut the deficit some in the second half after a terrible start. At one point, they were down 49-16. They cut it to 15 toward the end of the game. CofC sent in their reserves, most of which don't get that much playing time, like Bart Benton, Harrison Bowne, Judson Hall and others; but work extremely hard in practice.
They kept the margin at 15 or so until Harrison Bowne, a walk-on, made the winning basket at the buzzer to cap off a 75-58 win over the Tigers. It was nice to see a guy like that get some playing time at the end of the game, and be rewarded with a basket. This was probably the biggest moment in his life so far,
Towson, strangely, goes back into exhibition play on Monday. CofC doesn't play again till the Charleston Classic on Thursday. They will face St. John's in what should be a very exciting game. Both teams have stuff to improve in, but the Cougars did what they had to do for their home fans, and came out with a resounding victory.at CHARLESTON 75, TOWSON 58
TOWSON 0-1 (0-0) -- J. Benimon 7-18 8-9 23; M. Burwell 1-8 0-0 3; B. Dixon 7-12 1-2 15; J. Hairston 3-9 0-0 6; M. Damas 0-2 0-0 0; K. Walden 3-5 2-2 10; R. Guthrie 0-1 1-2 1; B. Alston 0-1 0-2 0; T. Parker-Rivera 0-1 0-0 0; B. Blackstone 0-0 0-0 0; J. Flash 0-0 0-0 0; J. Schulkin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-57 12-17 58.
CHARLESTON 1-0 (0-0) -- A. Thomas 3-6 5-8 12; T. Wiedeman 8-13 1-1 17; A. Stitt 4-7 1-2 12; A. Lawrence 5-7 6-6 16; A. Baru 4-7 1-4 9; W. Hall 2-3 2-2 6; N. Johnson 0-1 0-0 0; T. Johnson 0-1 0-4 0; P. Branin 0-0 1-2 1; T. Dixon 0-1 0-0 0; M. Sundberg 0-1 0-0 0; B. Benton 0-0 0-0 0; H. Bowne 1-1 0-0 2; C. Cooke 0-0 0-0 0; J. Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-48 17-29 75.
Three-point goals: TOWS 4-12 (J. Benimon 1-2; M. Burwell 1-5; M. Damas 0-1; K. Walden 2-3; J. Hairston 0-1), COFC 4-9 (M. Sundberg 0-1; A. Lawrence 0-1; W. Hall 0-1; A. Stitt 3-4; A. Thomas 1-2); Rebounds: TOWS 29 (B. Dixon 10), COFC 33 (A. Baru 9); Assists: TOWS 5 (J. Hairston 4), COFC 11 (A. Lawrence 5); Total Fouls -- TOWS 23, COFC 18; Fouled Out: TOWS-None; COFC-W. Hall.