Samford vs. College of Charleston

Samford vs. College of CharlestonWHEN: 7:30 p.m.WHERE: TD ArenaRADIO: WTMZ 910-AMTV: WMMPRECORDS: College of Charleston 10-4, 2-0 in SoCon; Samford (3-12, 1-1).NOTES: The Cougars have won a season-high five straight games, including a 60-56 win over Furman this past Saturday night. … This is the first of three games in five days for the Cougars, who play Chattanooga (Saturday) and The Citadel (Monday). … Samford is currently on a two-game losing skid after a 74-70 loss against Chattanooga. The Bulldogs have played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the league after facing the likes of No. 2 Louisville (L, 54-80), No. 16 Memphis (L, 54-65), No. 19 Kentucky (L, 56-88) and Wisconsin (L, 51-87). … The Bulldogs are led by sophomore G Raijon Kelly (14.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.5 apg,) and freshman F Tim Williams (14.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

After the College of Charleston eked out a four-point victory over Furman, a team that had won just one time against a Division I opponent, Cougars coach Doug Wojcik walked into the media room and announced that all future home games would be played a few miles up the road.

He was joking of course, but TD Arena has been anything but a homecourt advantage for the Cougars during the first half of the season. The Cougars are just 5-4 at TD Arena with embarrassing losses to Louisville (80-38) and Division II Anderson (65-49). In contrast, the Cougars are 5-0 on the road with a win over then-nationally ranked Baylor (63-59).

The Cougars (10-4, 2-0 Southern Conference) are hoping to reverse that trend beginning today when they take on Samford (3-12, 1-1) at TD Arena beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“We’re going to play all of our games at the North Charleston Coliseum,” Wojcik joked after the Cougars’ 60-56 victory over the Paladins this past Saturday. “We’ve got a beautiful arena here — we’re going to rent it out to high school games.”

What isn’t a laughing matter is the Cougars’ performance at home this season. Even in some of the games the Cougars have won at home, they’ve struggled at times against inferior foes.

“On the road, we’ve been able to keep the focus on us and our opponents,” said Cougars forward Anthony Thomas. “At home, there are a lot more distractions. We see a lot more people. There’s really no reason why we’re not playing better at home. I think we’re going to turn that around beginning (tonight) against Samford.”

While Wojcik acknowledged the Cougars haven’t been as consistent at home as they have been on the road, he believes that it’s an issue they can resolve with a couple of wins this week.

“I joke with the players about playing at home, but at some point I just need to leave it alone and let them work it out,” Wojcik said. “I’m not sure if they feel more pressure at home or if there are more distractions. There’s a reason why football teams spend the night at a hotel before a home game. The good thing is that we’re winning, and hopefully we can fix it and become a better home team.”

Junior forward Trent Wiedeman, who returned to the lineup after missing nine of the last 10 games with two separate ankle injuries, is expected to play more against Samford. Wiedeman, a preseason All-SoCon pick, played 11 minutes against the Paladins, going scoreless with four rebounds.

“Trent is not in game shape yet,” Wojcik said. “I thought he got pretty winded pretty quickly against Furman. He’s been practicing, so we’re hoping to get between 15 and 20 minutes out of him.”