Game #9-262: Furman Paladins at Charleston CougarsJanuary 5, 2013 5:00 pm
Carolina First Center
The College of Charleston has been a team with extreme highs and lows this year. You never know what to expect from them from night to night. They are perfect on the road this year at 5-0, including tough wins at Vermont and Baylor.
However, CofC has lost four games at home. Each has been more and more perplexing. They lost to St. John's and an Auburn team the Cougs were favored against in the Charleston Classic. They were blown out by 42 points against the Louisville Cardinals. The worst loss was a double-digit loss to Anderson University, a Division II school who is now finishing a 3-week winter break.
This game, though, was one which could have and nearly was the worst loss of the season, and maybe the worst in several years.
The Cougars were hosting the Furman Paladins at TD Arena. Furman was 342nd in the RPI. They had three wins on the year. Two of those were against Southern Wesleyan and Brevard College, two non Division I teams. The only D1 win was an 81-57 triumph over Presbyterian, who was 345th in the RPI heading into today's action. Losses included a 73-46 loss at Mercer and a 77-50 loss at Loyola (Chicago).
The College was 9-4 on the year, coming in on a four-game winning streak on the road. They prepared to start a stretch of four games in nine days, starting with the Paladins. This game was the last one of the year without students. Students have not been in session for a game since the Louisville game on December 4. This was the fourth home game without them, but the students came back to the College on January 9.
This game had a good crowd for one without most of the students. Over 3,800 attended at TD Arena. North Charleston High School's band, another one of the best bands in the area, performed in place of the CofC pep band. They were very loud, testing the arena's sound system several times during the game.
This one was a game of runs. CofC started the first half with one that made Furman look like one of the worst teams in college basketball. The Cougars led 19-6 with eight and a half minutes left in the first half, and were dominating the Paladins. They were blocking shots, drives to the basket, and playing like the nearly 20 point favorites they were.
The rest of the first half, however, was different. Furman trotted out four freshmen on the floor, including PG Stephen Croone, who will become a player to watch in the SoCon in the next couple of years. Furman went on a 16-8 run to end the first half. A game that looked like it was going to be a blowout instead was just a five-point lead for College of Charleston at halftime, 27-22.
The fans were not happy. They were mad at their defense, and for letting the Paladins back into the game. Furman did not have a large contingent of fans, which was surprising. They had about two dozen behind their bench and maybe a few others, and that was it, which surprised me for an in-state school that has hundreds, if not thousands of alumni and followers in the Lowcountry.
The Cougars held their lead in the first ten minutes of the second half, but Furman answered every Cougar punch with a counterpunch. Senior Colin Reddick (who seems like he has been at Furman for nine years) had eight straight for the Paladins in a 2:30 span. He had four free throws and two layups, turning a five point deficit into a stunning three-point lead.
The fans were mad to say the least. The only noise you could hear from the crowd were the Furman players jumping up and down along with their small fan contingent. A loss in this game for CofC could possibly hurt for the rest of the season. Furman had lost nine straight road games dating back to last season.
Furman kept this up in the next six or seven minutes. Reddick made an and-1, along with a FT, for a four-point Furman lead with just 3:29 left. Stephen Croone was fouled on a jumper, and had two FTs. Croone missed a FT, but Bryant Irwin got fouled. He had two FTs, making one for a five-point lead at 54-49. He missed the 2nd, and Willis Hall made a big three-pointer to cut the deficit to 54-52.
Nori Johnson blocked a shot, then Hall got a big rebound. Andrew Lawrence was fouled. He missed the first, but made the second after a timeout. It was 54-53 at the 1:30 mark. Colin Reddick missed a short jumper, with Hall getting the rebound. Lawrence was fouled, and had two FTs. Lawrence made the first and missed the second.
Furman got the rebound, then Croone missed a layup. Lawrence got the rebound. He then made a huge 3 with :26 left to give CofC a three-point lead at 57-54. Stitt made two FTs to give CofC a five-point lead, 59-54, but then Croone made a freshman mistake; he took nearly the entire clock to try for a layup. It was 59-56, but with just 1.4 seconds left.
Johnson made one of two FTs to ice the win for the Cougars, but it was not without some scary moments. Some of the fans even left with two minutes to go because they were mad about how CofC was playing. The fans who stayed were rewarded, as the Cougars hung on to prevent a very bad loss.
The Cougars next are home against Samford on Thursday, January 10, while the Paladins, who had a game effort, host Davidson on Saturday, January 12. This was part one of my SoCon doubleheader. Next up: a two-mile trek.
at CHARLESTON 60, FURMAN 56
FURMAN 3-10 (0-2) -- D. Thomas 5-12 2-4 15; S. Croone 5-12 1-4 11; K. Ferrara 2-7 1-2 5; L. Wideman 3-10 2-2 8; B. Irwin 0-4 1-2 1; K. Belfield 1-3 1-2 4; C. Reddick 10-18 5-7 25; B. Austin 0-3 0-0 0; K. Chuisseu 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-58 11-19 56.
CHARLESTON 10-4 (2-0) -- A. Stitt 5-14 4-5 14; A. Lawrence 3-13 4-6 13; W. Hall 2-4 0-0 6; A. Baru 2-7 3-6 7; A. Thomas 4-6 2-3 10; N. Johnson 1-3 3-4 6; T. Wiedeman 0-3 0-0 0; T. Johnson 1-1 2-2 4; M. Sundberg 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-52 18-26 60.
Three-point goals: FURM 1-11 (B. Austin 0-1; B. Irwin 0-3; K. Belfield 1-1; S. Croone 0-2; L. Wideman 0-3; K. Ferrara 0-1), COFC 6-16 (M. Sundberg 0-1; A. Lawrence 3-7; W. Hall 2-2; N. Johnson 1-3; A. Stitt 0-2; A. Thomas 0-1); Rebounds: FURM 34 (C. Reddick 9), COFC 35 (W. Hall 11); Assists: FURM 10 (S. Croone 4), COFC 7 (A. Lawrence 3); Total Fouls -- FURM 19, COFC 18; Fouled Out: FURM-None; COFC-None.