Game #9-415: Davidson Wildcats at Charleston CougarsFebruary 14, 2013 7:30 pm
Carolina First Center
The College of Charleston and Davidson College have been two of the biggest basketball rivals in the Southeast for many seasons.
The two schools are complete opposites of one another. Davidson is a private school north of Charlotte, NC, along Lake Norman, that is known for its academics (and its basketball team). The school is one of the top private universities in the Southeast, and has a national reputation.
The College of Charleston is a public liberal arts university in the downtown of the second-largest city in South Carolina, Charleston. Compared to Davidson, which has less than 2,000 students, CofC has almost 11,000.
They have been part of a rivalry in the Southern Conference since the Cougars joined the league in the 1998-99 season. The two schools have consistently been the best at men's basketball in this time period. With only three schools in the league (CofC, Davidson, and UNCG) not playing football, this has allowed them to focus on basketball.
Davidson has made five NCAAs since 1999; two NITs, and one CBI. The College of Charleston has made one NCAA trip, two NITs, and two CBIs in the same time period. They are the two keystone programs in the Southern Conference for basketball, and have shown it in the past few seasons.
This year's showdown at TD Arena was looking to be more of the same. Both programs were on long winning streaks headed in. Davidson was on a eight game winning streak, the College of Charleston six games. Neither team had lost since their last meeting at Davidson on January 19. That game, one where Willis Hall, one of CofC's best players, was injured in the middle of the game, ended up being a nine-point loss for Charleston, 77-68.
This game was billed as one of the games of the year in the Southern Conference. These were the top two teams in the South Division, two of the top three teams in the league. The two teams were on a combined 14 game winning streak.
There was a line to get into the student section for this game, something that has only occurred a few times this season. Karl Hess, the noted ACC referee, was one of the refs.
I went to King Street Grille for pregame food, and ended up being greeted by a large group of Davidson fans. This was the theme of the night.
King Street Grille when I was in there was almost entirely Davidson fans, who decided to have their alumni meet-up there. There were about two dozen Wildcat fans in attendance there, and more came the closer it got to game time.
Davidson's well-heeled group of alums and fans, some coming down from the Charlotte area, others living here, brought a larger group than any other fan base so far this season. Davidson's fans filled their area behind the bench, plus an area in the upper deck on the right side above the student section. Only Louisville has brought more fans than Davidson so far, and their fans were spread around the arena.
The game was one that started very poorly for the Cougars, who had a very excited crowd at the beginning. They could not, as Davidson quickly got out to a 10-0 lead in the first few minutes. They could not hold it though, as the Cougars quickly cut the deficit down to four points at 17-13 by the second media timeout.
The Cougars kept it close throughout the first half. They tied it at 20 with about 8:30 left in the half, and had leads at 24-23 and 26-25. However, each time CofC took the lead, they could not take advantage on the next offensive possession and lengthen the lead.
After a 10-0 deficit to start, CofC only trailed 32-30 at half. They had a chance to perhaps tie it, but Adjehi Baru missed the front end of a one and one with a second left in the half. If he had made both shots, the score would have been tied at halftime.
The second half became the Jake Cohen show. He torched the Cougars for 19 points in the second half, dominating CofC. Cohen proved why he is on every list for Player of the Year in the Southern Conference. Davidson fans were talking about Cohen's draft stock before this game. If any of those scouts saw this game, his draft stock has grown.
He made over 50% of his shots, 13 for 24 on field goals, with three 3 pointers. He had 32 in the game, the most any opposing player has had at CofC in a while.
Another problem in the second half for the Cougars: Trent Wiedeman getting hurt. He was the leading scorer of the game for CofC with just 10 points, this was because he played just 14 minutes. Wiedeman got hurt in the second half, and had to be helped off floor.
CofC was only down five points right before the injury, at 50-45. After the injury, Davidson went on a 21-8 run which basically sealed the game. It could have been anybody's game, but Davidson eventually overpowered the Cougars in the second half.
The Wildcats earned a 16 point win, 75-59, in a game that was much closer for most of the game. Jake Cohen had a career high of 32 points, and Davidson asserted themselves as the favorite in the South Division of the Southern Conference.
CofC had a quick turnaround, playing two days later against Georgia Southern, then going to Western Carolina, while Davidson stayed in Charleston to face The Citadel before hosting Furman later in the week.
The Cougars were outclassed in the second half, and an injury to one of the team's top players was too much to overcome.
DAVIDSON 75, at CHARLESTON 59
DAVIDSON 18-7 (13-1) -- C. Czerapowicz 1-5 0-0 3; N. Cochran 4-6 3-3 14; J. Kuhlman 4-7 0-0 9; J. Cohen 13-24 3-3 32; T. Droney 0-1 0-0 0; T. Kalinoski 3-5 0-0 8; D. Brooks 2-6 3-5 7; A. Mackay 0-0 0-0 0; J. Barham 0-0 0-0 0; J. Belford 0-0 0-0 0; M. Archie II 0-0 2-2 2; C. Tormey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-54 11-13 75.
CHARLESTON 18-8 (10-4) -- A. Thomas 4-8 0-0 9; A. Lawrence 4-13 0-0 10; A. Stitt 4-10 0-1 9; A. Baru 2-4 2-5 6; W. Hall 2-4 0-0 4; N. Johnson 3-7 0-0 7; T. Wiedeman 5-11 0-0 10; M. Sundberg 0-2 0-0 0; T. Johnson 1-3 1-2 3; P. Branin 0-0 1-2 1; H. Bowne 0-0 0-0 0; T. Dixon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-62 4-10 59.
Three-point goals: DAV 10-24 (J. Kuhlman 1-2; N. Cochran 3-4; J. Cohen 3-7; D. Brooks 0-1; C. Czerapowicz 1-5; T. Droney 0-1; T. Kalinoski 2-4), COFC 5-15 (M. Sundberg 0-1; A. Lawrence 2-3; N. Johnson 1-3; T. Wiedeman 0-1; A. Stitt 1-4; T. Johnson 0-1; A. Thomas 1-2); Rebounds: DAV 33 (T. Droney 6), COFC 31 (A. Baru 8); Assists: DAV 15 (J. Kuhlman 5), COFC 8 (A. Stitt 3); Total Fouls -- DAV 18, COFC 12; Fouled Out: DAV-D. Brooks; COFC-None.