Cougars down Howard, 60-50
There were plenty of things about the College of Charleston's 60-50 win over Howard Saturday afternoon that Cougars coach Doug Wojcik wasn't too happy about.
The Cougars didn't shoot the ball well from the floor - making just 15 of 45 shots from the field in a 33-percent shooting night.
The Cougars had just nine assists to 13 turnovers and allowed the Bison to score 34 points in the second half.
But Wojcik wasn't going to let those things dampen his spirits about a victory, any victory, as the Cougars head into their first Colonial Athletic Association game Tuesday night against James Madison.
There also were plenty of positives to take from the victory.
The Cougars (8-7) have won three straight games for the first time all season and did plenty of good things - rebounding and three-point shooting in particular - to get a double-digit victory over the Bison (3-14) in the team's final non-conference game of the season.
Only Towson (9-6) has more wins among CAA teams than the Cougars heading into conference action.
"We've won three games in a row and we have a winning record heading into conference play," Wojcik said. "I think we've got some momentum going into our conference schedule. This isn't a downer. I'm not going to be down about a win, that's crazy. What we do is very, very hard and to be as consistent as we've been over the holiday break is a credit to the guys and their focus on the task at hand. If I'm down, it was because I wanted to score 75 points."
The Cougars got another monster effort from senior forward Willis Hall, who finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Hall was coming off a 26-point, 21-rebound performance against Davidson on New Year's Day. Hall, who recorded his fifth double-double of the season and his third straight, had a double-double by halftime.
"I'm just taking it day-to-day like I always have," Hall said. "I have goals and things in mind that I'm trying to accomplish. I try to make every day my best, and luckily, the ball has been bouncing my way. I've been knocking down shots and I'm hoping to keep it rolling. I'm just out there to play the game."
Adjehi Baru did his part as well, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
"In a way I was more impressed with Ajdehi's double-double because he got off to such a slow start," Wojcik said. "We're going to be contenders because we do two things very well, we defend and we rebound. We're going to be in a lot of games."
Freshman Joe Chealey came off the bench and hit on three 3-pointers, including two during a crucial stretch in the second half.
"Because of Willis people won't think about how big those baskets by Joe were," Wojcik said. "He hit a couple of big threes that stopped their momentum."
Despite not shooting that well from the floor, the Cougars were solid from three-point range, making seven of 22 shots.
"They played a lot of zone against us, so we had to take some threes to open things up," Wojcik said.
The Cougars' defense held Howard without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the first half, as Charleston led 31-16 at halftime.
Howard cut into the lead in the second half, using a three-pointer from Solomon Mangham and consecutive baskets from Okoroh Prince to make it 39-33 with 11:09 remaining.
But two times Chealey connected on three-pointers to halt the Bison run.
Howard was able to cut it to 56-50 on Prince's basket with 1:33 to play, but that was as close as the Bison would get. Prince finished with a game-high 27 points, but took 25 shots to do it.
The Cougars will open play in the Colonial Athletic Association against James Madison on Tuesday at TD Arena beginning at 7 p.m.