As shocking and disappointing as Thursday night’s defeat to Samford was for the College of Charleston, it was still only one game.
Chattanooga vs. College of Charleston
Chattanooga vs. College of CharlestonWHEN: 4 p.m.WHERE: TD ArenaRADIO: WTMZ 910-AMRECORDS: College of Charleston 10-5, 2-1 in SoCon; Chattanooga (7-9, 2-1).NOTES: The College of Charleston leads the all-time series with Chattanooga, 16-11. … The last meeting the Cougars defeated Chattanooga, 87-85, (2OT), on Dec. 3, 2011 at TD Arena. … Chattanooga is currently on the tail end of a four-game road swing, in which they’ve complied a 2-1 mark, with a 70-65 victory at The Citadel Thursday night. … . Three of UTC’s losses this season have come against BCS opponents on the road at Kansas (L, 55-69), at LSU (L, 67-80) and at Georgia Tech (L, 58-74). The Mocs currently rank No. 61 in the nation in rebounds per game (38.4). … As part of CofC Basketball Alumni Weekend, the Cougars will celebrate the 30th year anniversary of their 1983 NAIA National Championship title won under legendary head coach John Kresse. A “Legends Game” which will be held prior to the Chattanooga game and will feature Cougar Basketball all-time greats such as Anthony Johnson, Thad Delaney, Sedric Webber, Troy Wheless, Greg Mack, John Brett, Pat King and Stacy Harris. The alumni game will be played from 1:45-2:45 p.m. at TD Arena. Admission is free.
College of Charleston senior guard Andrew Lawrence doesn’t want there to be any lingering effects for the Cougars when they take the floor this afternoon at TD Arena against Chattanooga at 4 p.m.
The Cougars can’t afford any hangovers at this point in the season. Lawrence said.
“We’ve got to put the Samford game behind us as quickly as possible and have short-term memories,” Lawrence said. “We have to be hungry, and I think we lacked that hunger against Samford, especially in the first half. I’m expecting us to be hungry against Chattanooga.”
With five minutes left in Thursday night’s 62-57 loss to Samford, the Cougars held a nine-point advantage and appeared to have everything going their way. But the Bulldogs rallied, outscoring the Cougars, 18-4 over the final five minutes, to record their first win over Charleston in 13 attempts.
“We gave (Samford) hope and we can’t do that, especially in a conference game,” Lawrence said. “When we’ve got a team down, we’ve got finish them off and that’s something that we’ve got to work on.”
It was the second straight sluggish performance at home for the Cougars. After convincing wins on the road against Vermont (62-50) and Marist (85-75) over the Christmas holidays, College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik figured the Cougars were hitting their stride. Instead, the Cougars needed a heroic effort from Lawrence and Anthony Stitt in the second half to beat Furman (60-56) and then watched his team squander a late lead against Samford.
“All bets are off, we’re back at ground zero now,” Wojcik said. “I don’t have answer have for what has happened to us the last two games. We were in a good place after those two games against Vermont and Marist. You think that the Furman game was a huge lesson learned and you’re going to come out and score the ball and attack a little bit, but you don’t do that. We’ll try and figure it out.”
Wojcik also understands he and the team can’t dwell on what happened Thursday night. Putting the Samford loss in the rearview mirror was the top priority during Friday’s practice.
“The sun came up (Friday), and we know we’ve got a tough game (today),” Wojcik said. “Chattanooga is playing really, really well. They’re very athletic. They have guards that can shoot it and post guys that post really, really hard. We’ve got to do a good job in both of those areas.”
Taking better care of the basketball will be a point of emphasis for the Cougars. The Cougars are averaging 16 turnovers a game, but only 10 assists.
Wojcik wants to get junior forward Trent Wiedeman more involved in the offense. In just seven minutes of action against the Bulldogs, Wiedeman, a preseason All-SoCon selection, was scoreless for the second straight game since returning from an ankle injury.