College of Charleston cruises past The Citadel, 72-48

  • Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2013 4:03 p.m., Updated: Sunday, December 29, 2013 7:31 p.m.
The Citadel,Matt Van Scyoc ( left ) has his shoot blocked by College of Charleston Adjehi Baru the College of Charleston went on to defeat it's Crosstown rival.Leroy Burnell/staff 12/29/2013 Buy this photo

College of Charleston guard Nori Johnson came into Sunday's game against The Citadel with just 17 minutes of playing time the entire season.

Johnson, a senior, had not scored a single point all season.

Johnson came off the bench to score 12 points, all on 3-pointers, and Willis Hall had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the College of Charleston past The Citadel, 72-48, before a crowd of 2,803 at McAlister Field House.

It was the seventh straight victory for the Cougars (6-7) in the crosstown series.

Johnson, who has started 17 times during his career, had been considered a key bench player coming into the season, but had only played in five games through the Christmas break.

With Joe Chealey nursing a knee injury and limited to two minutes against the Bulldogs, Johnson saw his role and playing time increase on Sunday.

"I wasn't doing everything I needed to do to get on the floor and it was tough," Johnson said. "I knew I'd get an opportunity at some point and when I got it, I needed to take advantage of it."

Johnson connected on 4 of 7 3-pointers, scoring 12 of 13 points for the Cougars during a five-minute stretch in the second half that turned a close game into a blowout.

Johnson gave the Cougars' struggling perimeter shooters a much needed boost.

"People are going to wonder why Nori hadn't played earlier in the year," said College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik. "It was a coach's decision not to play Nori. He wasn't there yet, but he's playing now. He's set to graduate in May and that's a really big deal.

"I think he's a better person for sitting there and getting through the first semester, and he's in a good place. If he can continue to play like that, it's going to make us a better team. We needed some threes to go in for us."

It was a dreadful shooting night for the Bulldogs (4-10), who missed their first 13 shots from the floor and finished the game shooting just 30.2 percent from the floor. The Bulldogs' sluggish start allowed the Cougars to build an 11-point lead in the first seven minutes of the game.

"It's the worst we've shot all season," said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell. "We only scored 48 points. I doubt we could have beaten anyone tonight scoring only 48 points. We've had nights when we haven't shot it well, but we've still scored in the 60s. We got open looks, good looks, but the shots were not falling for us. I think when we didn't hit some of our early shots, we got a little tight."

After falling behind 11-0, the Bulldogs actually outscored the Cougars 27-23 over the final 11 minutes of the first half.

"We knew it was going to be a game of runs and we went on our run midway through the first half," said Moore, who led the Bulldogs with 15 points. "We just didn't hit any shots at the start of the game.

Leading 34-27 at halftime, the Cougars used a 20-6 run to start the second half. Johnson scored all 12 of his points during the Cougars' surge.

"We knew who (Johnson) was," Moore said. "You just have to give him credit for making his shots."

The Cougars built a 54-33 lead on Johnson's fourth 3-pointer with 10:50 to play. The Bulldogs made a brief run to cut it to 56-40 on Quinton Marshall's layup with 7:27 to play.

But an Adjehi Baru dunk and two baskets from Hall and the Cougars were back up by 23 points with less than six minutes to play.

Anthony Stitt finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assist for the Cougars.

"Anthony had a great floor game," Wojcik said.

Brian White added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.

The Citadel will take on Radford on Jan. 2, while the Cougars will travel to face Davidson on New Year's Day.

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