Wofford next test for College of Charleston
There's no lack of motivation for the College of Charleston men's basketball team in tonight's Southern Conference game at Wofford.
The Terriers (8-6, 1-1 Southern Conference) have won the SoCon tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament the past two seasons, including a 77-67 win over the Cougars in last year's championship game.
The Cougars (10-3, 2-0) are coming off a disappointing 84-76 home loss to George Mason on Friday, while Wofford comes into the game on the heels of a 56-52 win at Wake Forest on Monday.
Wofford lost a number of standout players from last season's Southern Conference tournament champion team, including star forward Noah Dahlman, but the Terriers still appear to have plenty of firepower, led by senior guards Kevin Giltner and Brad Loesing.
"Everybody says they lost a lot of players, but I don't think (Wofford coach) Mike Young was sitting around doing nothing the last two years. He knew they were losing those players, and he went out and got some very good players," Cougars coach Bobby Cremins said. "They are tough to defend. We have to bounce back. I'm a little concerned right now."
Defense was a big issue for the Cougars in their loss to George Mason. The Patriots' Ryan Pearson went wild, scoring 35 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
"We have to be ready to play defense in clutch situations and not let our opponents get easy baskets like we did against George Mason," said Cougars senior Antwaine Wiggins, who leads the SoCon in scoring with 18.2 ppg and is tied for third in rebounding at seven per game.
"We know it will be a tough road trip. Their fans will be really loud. We just have to stay focused and not let it affect us. I know they will be hyped to play us, but we are ready to play them, too, after they beat us in the championship game last year."
Cremins said a team needs to be playing its best basketball going on a road trip that also includes a game at Furman on Saturday.
"We're still a work in progress. We've been fortunate we've won a lot of close games, but the last game went the other way and we did not deserve to win," Cremins said. "There are still a lot of things to iron out. The biggest thing against George Mason is that we weren't ourselves. They took us out of our game and we didn't play with the confidence we'd been playing with. That's what bothered me.
"We play a difficult schedule, and some people think when you go into the conference, your schedule gets easier. That's a bunch of baloney. Conference games are so much tougher than out-of-conference games. All these teams in our league are tough. We've lost our edge a little bit and we have to bounce back. And bouncing back on the road is not easy."
College of Charleston at Wofford
When/Where: 8 p.m., Benjamin Johnson Arena, Spartanburg