Game #9-184: Old Dominion Monarchs at Charleston CougarsDecember 18, 2012 7:30 pm
Carolina First Center
If you looked at a schedule at the beginning of the season and saw that Old Dominion was facing the College of Charleston, you would probably think that it would be a very quality mid-major matchup. On one side you had Old Dominion, who has made postseason appearances in the past eight seasons and has had great success under Blaine Taylor. ODU is in its last year in the Colonial Athletic Association before it heads off to Conference USA for football-related reasons.
One school taking their place is the College of Charleston Cougars, who will join the CAA next year. Charleston, who is always a perennial power in the Southern Conference, has only had one losing season since joining the DI ranks and have always played well at home knocking off high-quality opposition.
The seasons of both teams have not gotten off to the best starts though. Since this is the last year Old Dominion is in the CAA, they are ineligible for the conference tournament. The only chance ODU would have at getting into the NCAA Tournament would be as an at-large. Any chances of that happening are long gone as the Monarchs opened the season with a horrendous 1-9 start. I know Kent Bazemore was a big part of the Monarch squad last year, but I did not think his loss in addition to some other key players would have such a negative effect on the team.
While Charleston has not had quite that bad of a start, they have run into some troubles as of late. The Cougars were headed in the right direction after a big road win at Baylor, but they followed that up with a miserable performance against Louisville
Some thought the Cougars could get the bad taste out of their mouth with a visit from Division II Anderson, but they ended up getting Black Lined
in a game that was never close. Injuries have been a part of this with Trent Wiedeman missing most of the season and Andrew Lawrence also dealing with some nagging ailments.
What was on paper before the season a very strong matchup was now a meeting of two teams that were trying to stop the negative momentum. A road win for Old Dominion would be a positive heading towards the conference season where they could at least shoot for a regular-season crown and leave their old rivals with a bitter feeling. Charleston had the chance to stop its mini-slide with both Lawrence and Wiedeman back in the lineup.
Charleston is well known for some really good cuisine with some really good chefs. Since there is so much competition, there are always new places opening up every few months. I was hoping to get to go to any number of places before the Louisville game, but it was packed everywhere I tried. I knew if I left work early, I would be able to choose wherever I wanted to go, especially with a bunch of students gone on break.
Once I discovered The Macintosh had a Bacon Happy Hour
, I knew exactly where I was going. Each week this upscale tavern makes a different $5 pork dish at happy hour. I know it is not exactly mid-majority dining, but I thoroughly enjoyed my deviled ham and spiced chicharones with a Point Drop Dead Blonde Ale.
When I arrived at TD Arena, I was greeted with a very sparse crowd. The students and band were gone, as this was to be expected, but Charleston fans are usually late arriving which left the first part of the game with a lot less energy than usual. This may have aided the Monarchs decent start with Donte Hill and DeShawn Painter leading the way. In all both teams were struggling to get their offenses going and I was more interested in the signs Old Dominion assistant coach Jim Corrigan was holding up on each offensive set. There was one that said Dribble, then Quick, then P-Wing (a Super Mario 3 reference?) and Split.
Neither team could gain too much momentum as the Cougars erased a small lead with some stingy defense and an 11-3 run. The score would be tied at 28 at the half as both teams showed signs of their recent struggles. When the second half started, the offense started to pick up as Charleston's Adjehi Baru showed flashes of dominance in the paint with two dunks. Baru looked like a deer in the headlights at times last year, but he gets better every time I see him, even in the Louisville blowout where he was the best player on the floor for the Cougars.
Charleston would go up 11 after a swooping lay-in from the returning Wiedeman, but Old Dominion responded with an eight-point run to get the lead down to a single possession. The Cougars would drain the following eight points as the teams were trading punches. ODU stopped the scoreless streak with a dunk, but there was more concern over a crumpled Wiedeman on the court. Wiedeman cannot catch a break as he was helped off the court hurting his opposite ankle.
His departure did not cause a slump for Charleston on this night though. Lawrence was playing a great game and the Cougars were keeping their turnovers down, which had been a problem that plagued them throughout the year. Old Dominion ran out of spurts as Baru put an exclamation on his career day with an alley-oop to give CofC an insurmountable 70-50 lead.
Old Dominion dropped to 1-10 with no reprieve in sight as they face off against Virginia on Saturday. It may be a very long year for the Monarchs, especially with no chance at getting a miracle run in the conference tournament waiting for them either. For the Cougars, it was a great team performance as they pulled away in the second half. They cannot seem to get lucky with the injury bug with Wiedeman being sidelined again. It was good for them to get a win after two embarrassing losses though as they look to right the ship heading into the conference season.
at CHARLESTON 76, OLD DOMINION 65
OLD DOMINION 1-10 (0-1) -- G. Powell 2-3 0-0 4; D. Hill 5-10 1-4 11; K. Palmore 3-10 4-4 10; D. Painter 6-9 3-4 15; D. Clark 4-5 0-0 10; A. Bacote 2-7 4-4 9; A. Larsen 3-8 0-0 6; R. Ross 2-3 0-0 4; D. Batten 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-54 12-16 65.
CHARLESTON 6-4 (1-0) -- A. Lawrence 4-10 6-9 17; A. Stitt 2-8 0-0 6; A. Baru 8-8 4-5 20; A. Thomas 5-7 1-3 13; W. Hall 2-5 2-2 6; T. Wiedeman 2-3 3-4 7; N. Johnson 1-2 0-0 3; T. Johnson 1-2 0-0 2; M. Sundberg 0-0 0-0 0; T. Dixon 0-1 0-0 0; B. Benton 0-1 0-0 0; H. Bowne 0-0 0-0 0; P. Branin 1-1 0-0 2; C. Cooke 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-49 16-23 76.
Three-point goals: ODU 3-15 (D. Hill 0-4; D. Painter 0-1; A. Larsen 0-1; D. Batten 0-2; A. Bacote 1-5; D. Clark 2-2), COFC 8-20 (A. Lawrence 3-7; B. Benton 0-1; N. Johnson 1-2; T. Dixon 0-1; A. Stitt 2-5; C. Cooke 0-1; T. Johnson 0-1; A. Thomas 2-2); Rebounds: ODU 24 (D. Painter 7), COFC 28 (A. Baru 9); Assists: ODU 14 (D. Hill 5), COFC 18 (A. Lawrence 6); Total Fouls -- ODU 19, COFC 15; Fouled Out: ODU-None; COFC-None.