College of Charleston forward Willis Hall always seems to be the forgotten man on the Cougars roster.
Andrew Lawrence and Trent Wiedeman were preseason All-Southern Conference selections. Sophomores Adjehi Baru and Anthony Stitt are raising stars.
But Hall, a junior, just seems to be the glue that keeps the Cougars together. When he’s scoring, the Cougars have been nearly unbeatable this season.
Hall finished with a team-high 14 points and Lawrence added 12 points to lead the College of Charleston past The Citadel, 69-54, Thursday night before a crowd of 4,118 at TD Arena.
It was the sixth-straight win in the series for the Cougars (13-7, 5-3 in SoCon), who snapped a two-game losing streak with the victory. Mike Groselle led the Bulldogs (4-14, 1-7) with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Hall’s game isn’t always the most aesthetic to watch or the most orthodox, but few can argue with the results.
Need a rebound, Hall’s your man. Need a post player to step out and hit a medium range jump shot. No problem. He’s proven to be a difficult match-up for the opposition.
The Citadel decided to let Hall have the 15 -to 17-foot jump shot and the Charlotte, native was more than happy to take it. Hall connected on seven of eight shots from the floor.
“When Willis scores, we win,” College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik said. “He was active (Thursday night). He got a couple of rebounds that I thought he didn’t have a shot at. He’s a really good high post player. When people zone us, he’s tough to deal with because he can make that shot.”
Hall was a little surprised the Bulldogs let him have that medium-range jumper from the free throw line extended, but was glad they did.
“I hope it continues,” Hall said. “I hope everyone does it. That’s a shot I like to take.”
Ten days ago, the Cougars escaped McAlister Field House with a 73-69 win, needing a late Andrew Lawrence jumper to beat the Bulldogs.
This game never got that close.
The Cougars used a huge rebounding edge — 48 to 29 — finish the game with 14 second-chance points. The plus-19 rebounding edge included 16 offensive rebounds for the Cougars.
Charleston had just three more rebounds than the Bulldogs in their first meeting.
“I don’t think we’ve been outrebounded like that all season,” Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said. “Rebounding wasn’t an issue in the first game. We just got manhandled on the boards tonight. That’s probably the worst we’ve got beat this season. They’re a good rebounding team. We’ve got to do a better job.”
Defensively, the Cougars found a way to shut down Citadel freshman Matt Van Scyoc, who had 17 points in the first meeting.
“We didn’t double off of him,” Wojcik said. “We didn’t want him to get into any kind of shooting rhythm.”
The Cougars got off to a quick start, hitting four of their first five shots from the floor and opening up a 12-4 lead on Hall’s layup with 16:20 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs responded and closed to within 20-17 on Lawrence Miller’s 3-pointer with 6:07 left before halftime. But that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the game.
The Cougars, who led 31-24 at halftime, broke the game open with an 18-8 run to start the second half.
Anthony Stitt’s 3-pointer with 7:43 gave the Cougars a 57-38 advantage. The Cougars led by as many as 23 points late in the game before Wojcik emptied his bench.