College of Charleston downs Drexel, 47-46
Going into the Colonial Athletic Association this season, College of Charleston basketball coach Doug Wojcik knew his team would have to be tough to be able to compete.
Kids from the big Northeast cities like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., where toughness on the playgrounds matters, make up a big chunks of the rosters in the CAA.
Wojcik believes the Cougars are pretty tough in their own right.
Willis Hall connected on a short baseline jumper with 3.8 to play to lead the College of Charleston past Drexel, 47-46, Thursday night before a crowd of 3,613 at TD Arena.
The Cougars (13-13, 5-6 in CAA) held the Dragons (13-11, 5-6) to a season-low in points (47) and to their lowest field goal percentage (32.1 percent) this season. Drexel guard Chris Fouch, the CAA's third leading scorer, was held to a season-low six points. The Cougars also outrebounded the Dragons, 46-38. It was the seventh straight game in the CAA that the Cougars have outrebounded their opponent.
"We are one hell of a defensive team and we're a very good rebounding team," Wojcik said. "I think going into this league you think about going into Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore you're going to play against some kids that have played a high level of basketball. These are kids from the city, very tough kids.
"I think we've laid the foundation for incredible toughness here as we move forward. They don't make a 3-pointer. We hold them to 27 points under their average in the conference. It was just a great defensive performance for us tonight."
With the game tied at 40, Hall hit a spinning layup and was fouled to give the Cougars a 43-40 advantage with 1:40 to play.
"If we were going to go down, we were going to do down with Willis," Wojcik said. "He's the only guy on our team that can make that shot."
Drexel fought back. Tavon Allen's putback and a Rodney Williiams dunk with 46.0 seconds to play gave the Dragons a 44-43 lead. Frantz Massenat added two free throws to give the Dragons a 46-43 advantage with 24.9 seconds to play.
But Joe Chealey was fouled going to the basket and sank two free throws to cut the gap to 46-45 with 18.9 seconds to play.
The Cougars immediately fouled Massenat, who promptly missed two free throws with 17 seconds left.
Chealey raced down the floor and found Anthony Stitt wide open in corner for a 3-pointer, but his shot was blocked by Allen.
Hall got the rebounds, spun and lofted a shot over outstretched arms of Williams and Dartaye Ruffin for the winning basket.
"When Anthony's shot got tipped, I just ran to it and decided to put something up there around the rim," Hall said. "I didn't see it go in, so that's all I can tell you."
The Dragons had a chance to tie the game, as Fouch got the inbounds pass and drove the length of the floor. At the last second, Cougars center Adjehi Baru blocked Fouch's layup attempt at the buzzer. Drexel coach James "Bruiser" Flint argued with game officials after he game, wanted a goal-tending call on Baru.
"Not the way we wanted to play defense that last possession," Wojcik said. "Adjehi came over and make a nice block when we needed it.
The Cougars will face Northeastern Saturday at 7 p.m. at TD Arena.