Game #9-436: Georgia Southern Eagles at Charleston CougarsFebruary 16, 2013 4:00 pm
Carolina First Center
Charleston is one of the biggest towns for tourism in the nation. Tourism gets very slow during the winter months in Charleston. December after Christmas and January is a very slow time. You can walk King Street through downtown Charleston on a weekday morning and only see a few people around. The restaurants that serve the college students basically are dead for a couple weeks between the end of the Christmas and when the students get back at CofC.
February is a different story in the Lowcountry. Events start happening at a breakneck pace. President's Day weekend in Charleston is one of the busiest weekends of the entire year. Living here, you feel this every year. Right outside the College of Charleston
's front door is the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. For a weekend every February, SEWE, as it is called by the locals, basically takes over downtown Charleston.
It is the largest wildlife art/nature event in the nation. Marion Square, the place that College of Charleston students often use to sunbathe on warm fall and spring days, is taken over by art and nature exhibits along with concession stands.
This was on Friday afternoon. The crowds get bigger later in the weekend.
Also on President's Day weekend, college baseball ramps up in full force. Most teams in South Carolina have home games over the opening weekend, mostly hosting northern teams. College baseball, especially here in the Charleston area, gets a huge amount of media coverage. The College of Charleston hosted Xavier in their season-opening series, starting on a cool night. The Citadel and Charleston Southern were also home on this weekend.
The College of Charleston had a lot to compete with. Not only did they have the wildlife expo just at its front door, along with college baseball, it was a holiday weekend. Many students leave campus for the holiday, even though the college does not get the day off for that holiday. CofC does not get Labor Day off either, compared to many other schools around us,
It was also one of the coldest days of the winter in Charleston. Weather can be bipolar in the winter months in Charleston. The Saturday of the Chattanooga game that I recapped, it was 80 degrees and thousands of students were enjoying their day on the beach. On this Saturday in February, it was about 45 when I got there, and the temperature dropped into the 30s before the game.
If you could look closely, a couple sleet pellets could be seen mixing in with the rain. It then cleared up during the game, warming us up to a balmy 41.
CofC was coming off a very difficult loss to Davidson two nights before inside TD Arena, where they were torched by Jake Cohen, one of the best players in the Southern Conference. Now the Cougars would be facing a pesky Georgia Southern team. The Eagles are the only team in conference so far this year to defeat Davidson, defeating them in Statesboro in January.
In the same week, Georgia Southern defeated Davidson and the College of Charleston, two of the best teams in the SoCon. Two days after beating CofC in mid January, they lost by 15 at home to The Citadel, one of the worst teams in the league. This tells you how much parity there is in the SoCon between the teams.
The rain and the blowout loss two nights prior to the Wildcats helped to make one of the smallest crowds of the year. The student section I am a part of was especially bad. Less than 20 students attended at the beginning of the game. It was a very surprising turnout for a Saturday afternoon game. All of the factors I discussed earlier in the recap conspired for a small student section.
It was a game of several long runs. CofC led for nearly the entire first half, except for one three-point basket at the beginning. The Cougars got out to a 28-11 lead with about 7 minutes left in the half. The game looked to be a blowout which had only been seen a couple times at home this season. The Eagles though punched back. A 7-1 run lead cut the deficit to nine with about 3 minutes left in the half.
CofC missed an opportunity to get a big lead at halftime. They were only up 36-25 at half, leading a window of opportunity for Georgia Southern. This did not appear to be the case as the second half began. By the second media timeout, the Cougars were up by twenty points, 52-32, and appeared to be clicking on all cylinders. They were out-rebounding the Eagles (out-rebounded them 34-30 in the game), and most of their offense was doing well.
Eric Ferguson of Georgia Southern had other ideas. The lead was 61-38 with 7:51 left. The game is over. Right? Eric Ferguson said no. Ferguson had ten straight on his own. This cut the lead to 61-48 with 4:58 left. C.J. Reed cut the lead to 11 with two free throws. After a Kameron Dunnican tip-in, Eric Ferguson's breakaway dunk with 3:10 left cut the Cougar lead to 61-54.
The crowd was shocked at TD Arena, watching the Eagles score 16 straight without a Cougar answer. The Georgia Southern crowd got loud for the first time all game. After a media TO, Andrew Lawrence quickly missed a 3. Georgia Southern had the ball, down just seven, and with plenty of time to try and complete their comeback. They missed their chance to cut the lead to five or four.
After an exchange of baskets, Adjehi Baru's foul with 1:38 left sent Brian Holmes to the line. He made the first shot to cut the Charleston lead to 63-57. He missed the second though, which would have cut the lead to five. This was the closest Georgia Southern could get. The lead was cut to seven with :37 left, but Anthony Stitt made two free throws, and the Cougars closed it out, winning 69-60 over a pesky Georgia Southern team.
The fans at TD Arena got a good game on this Saturday, hard-fought, as the Cougars stood out from the start and eventually held on for an important victory.
at CHARLESTON 69, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 60
GEORGIA SOUTHERN 11-16 (5-9) -- C. Reed 5-16 4-4 16; B. Holmes 1-4 1-2 3; C. Roberts 1-4 0-0 2; E. Ferguson 8-12 5-6 22; C. Baskerville 2-6 0-0 5; T. Bussey 1-4 0-0 2; M. Baynham 3-6 0-0 6; K. Dunnican 1-2 0-0 2; S. Mike 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-55 10-12 60.
CHARLESTON 19-8 (11-4) -- A. Baru 2-7 9-13 13; W. Hall 7-10 2-2 18; A. Lawrence 2-8 0-0 5; A. Stitt 4-10 2-3 11; A. Thomas 3-6 0-0 6; N. Johnson 2-5 0-0 6; T. Wiedeman 3-4 2-4 8; T. Dixon 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-51 15-22 69.
Three-point goals: GS 4-12 (C. Reed 2-4; C. Baskerville 1-3; E. Ferguson 1-2; T. Bussey 0-1; B. Holmes 0-1; C. Roberts 0-1), COFC 6-18 (A. Lawrence 1-7; W. Hall 2-2; N. Johnson 2-3; A. Stitt 1-4; A. Thomas 0-2); Rebounds: GS 30 (B. Holmes 7), COFC 34 (A. Baru 11); Assists: GS 4 (C. Reed 4), COFC 13 (A. Stitt 4); Total Fouls -- GS 18, COFC 13; Fouled Out: GS-None; COFC-None.