Game #9-451: Wofford Terriers at Charleston CougarsFebruary 28, 2013 7:30 pm
Carolina First Center
The College of Charleston has two traditions which have been a part of the program for many seasons. Almost every program does a Senior Night or a Senior Day promotion. This promotion has gotten more ink lately after Indiana did Senior Night festivities after a loss to Ohio State, in a 9pm game. Tom Crean didn't walk in to do his press conference until 1:30 in the morning.
At the College of Charleston, Senior Night is done during the last home game. Last year, Antwaine Wiggins was honored, along with team manager Ben Walsh. This year, Wiggins is playing for a team in Brazil. Andrew Goudelock and Jeremy Simmons were given standing ovations two seasons ago on their senior night. It is always a festive occasion when the players are honored in their final game.
This year, there were three seniors honored. Bart Benton, Matt Sundberg, and Andrew Lawrence were honored. Each player has their own place in College of Charleston history. Benton is the definition of a walk-on leader. He is the guy that works 110% in practice, leads the scout team, and has the highest grade point average on the team. He hasn't played much in his career, but after he graduates this spring, his goal is to be a judge like his father. He is going to law school in the fall, and has already been accepted to several schools.
Matt Sundberg is a unique character. He has been a part of the program for all five years at Carolina First, then TD Arena. His role has evolved throughout his career. He played in the very first game at TD Arena against SIU-Edwardsville. In his first season, he scored five points at North Carolina, and clinched a game at Appalachian State with two free throws.
In his sophomore season, he developed a role as a situational three-point shooter. He won a couple games with his stroke. He missed the season in 2010-11 with an injury, but was a colorful presence on the bench with the bow ties he wore every game. In the last two seasons, he developed into a spark plug off the bench. He made three three-pointers against Louisville last season, and buried a half-court shot at halftime at Coastal Carolina. This season, he has started twice, and has helped the Cougars a lot with his play.
Andrew Lawrence is one of the most decorated players ever at CofC. He is most well known for playing for Great Britain in the 2012 Summer Olympics, leading them to a win over China. He has grown throughout his career, from a role player in his first season in 2009-10, to a complimentary player to Andrew Goudelock in 2010-11, to being a star the last two seasons. He has over 1,000 points in his career, which is no small feat when he only started for two seasons.
He has made many big shots and along with the rest of the senior class, have been part of some big wins at the College. This senior class defeated North Carolina, Tennessee twice, Clemson, Baylor, Boston College, and Dayton. They have won a regular-season conference title, but have not completed the final task on their checklist, a SoCon Tournament championship which would give them an NCAA berth.
Another tradition CofC has is the white-out against Wofford. Several teams in the league do it now, but CofC was the first. It began with a 2007 game against Wofford, the first season that Bobby Cremins was coach. Phillip McCandies nailed a three at the buzzer to give CofC a comeback win, that was the top play on SportsCenter that night.
This would be the last season of that tradition, unless CofC plays Wofford in a non-conference game. This was the last home CofC game in the Southern Conference, so it was an important night for many reasons.
The student section crowd was larger than most games this season. Free t-shirts, along with the Senior Night festivities helped to provide a larger crowd.
Wofford certainly didn't lay down though. They had a player, John Swinton, from Mount Pleasant's Wando High School, who was eager to play one of his local teams. The game was a very tight one throughout. Anthony Stitt was unable to play, as he got hurt earlier in the week.
One of the loudest moments of the season at TD Arena occurred when walk-on Bart Benton nailed a 3 to start the game on a set play. Coach Doug Wojcik started him for senior night, and the building erupted when he made that three. He nearly made another three on the next possession, which would have made the place go crazy.
It was a very low-scoring half. The Cougars held the lead for most of the half, except for a couple ties and a one-point Wofford lead at one point, but CofC never had more than a seven point lead. At halftime, the score was 24-22 CofC. A bad call went against CofC at the end of the half, giving Wofford another possession right before the half, but the Terriers didn't make the shot.
Andrew Lawrence didn't have a single point in the first half. The Cougars led though. Through the second half, CofC broke to a ten-point lead, but Wofford kept themselves in the game. They tried to break away, going out to an eleven-point lead at the last media timeout. You'd think it would be over, but it was not. The Terriers had many chances to cut the deficit to a manageable two-possession game, but it was too little, too late. Wofford was down seven with about :30 left, but couldn't get it much closer.
John Swinton's jumper cut the Cougar lead to five, but that was with just five seconds left, and CofC held on for a 55-50 win. This was a very important win for the Cougars as they head into the conference tournament. CofC beat Furman on Saturday, to finish the regular season with 22 wins.
The Terriers will play Georgia Southern in the first game of the conference tournament on Friday. Asheville this year will be an interesting tournament. Nobody knows what will happen.
This may be my last game this year, but I have enjoyed being a fan, especially this season. I have enjoyed my time this year, going to more games than last season. I've been at every College of Charleston regular season home game this year, which I feel was an accomplishment. I've been through high highs, and low lows. It is a lot harder to make an investment in a mid-major program that is not in the news all the time. However, there is more joy, especially with the great moments.
I've seen CofC get blown out by a Division II school, Anderson, and I've seen them defeat an ACC school, Boston College. I've also been to four Citadel home games, and a Charleston Southern game.
College basketball is a great sport, and the Cougars certainly displayed the proper fight needed in order to earn a Senior Night win. Now, we will see how they will perform in their most important games of the season.
at CHARLESTON 55, WOFFORD 50
WOFFORD 12-18 (6-11) -- K. Cochran 10-27 0-0 23; A. Smith 2-6 1-2 5; L. Skinner 3-4 0-0 7; S. Collins 1-9 6-8 8; J. Swinton 2-5 0-0 5; I. Faithfull 1-4 0-0 2; J. Byrd 0-1 0-0 0; J. Gordon 0-2 0-0 0; C. Neumann 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-59 7-10 50.
CHARLESTON 21-9 (13-4) -- A. Lawrence 3-10 3-5 10; A. Thomas 3-5 2-3 9; N. Johnson 2-7 0-0 5; W. Hall 5-7 0-0 10; A. Baru 2-3 0-0 4; T. Wiedeman 3-5 1-3 7; T. Johnson 2-5 2-3 7; M. Sundberg 0-1 0-0 0; B. Benton 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 21-45 8-14 55.
Three-point goals: WOFF 5-20 (K. Cochran 3-13; J. Swinton 1-2; J. Byrd 0-1; I. Faithfull 0-1; L. Skinner 1-1; S. Collins 0-2), COFC 5-19 (M. Sundberg 0-1; A. Lawrence 1-6; B. Benton 1-2; W. Hall 0-1; N. Johnson 1-4; T. Johnson 1-3; A. Thomas 1-2); Rebounds: WOFF 21 (L. Skinner 7), COFC 41 (T. Wiedeman 9); Assists: WOFF 13 (L. Skinner 6), COFC 9 (A. Lawrence 7); Total Fouls -- WOFF 16, COFC 11; Fouled Out: WOFF-None; COFC-None.