College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik has built a national reputation on defense and rebounding.
It's not that Wojcik doesn't like offensive basketball, he does. After all he was the point guard at Naval Academy when NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson led the Midshipmen to the NCAA Tournament in the late 1980s.
He just believes that defense and rebounding will win more games in the long run.
The Cougars got plenty of offense, scoring 86 points Saturday afternoon against Delaware, but couldn't get a stop when they needed it most down the stretch.
Davon Saddler scored 24 points and Carl Baptiste added 21 points to lead Delaware past College of Charleston, 89-86, on Senior Day at TD Arena.
The Blue Hens, who finished the regular season at 22-9 and 14-2, clinched the CAA title and the No. 1 seed at next weekend's conference tournament in Baltimore with the victory. The Cougars (14-17, 6-10) will face either Towson or William & Mary next Saturday night in the opening round of the CAA Tournament.
For the second straight home game the Cougars showed an offensive flair that has been lacking most of the season. The Cougars' 86 points against the Blue Hens was the third-highest output of the season. Charleston recorded 87 points the last time they hit the floor at TD Arena in an 87-54 win over William & Mary on Feb. 19.
"It was a great college basketball game," Wojcik said. "People want to see scoring, obviously I want to see scoring from us and defending them. We played really well. I'm really proud of the way we played. Give Delaware credit, they were playing for a lot. A No. 1 seed and now an automatic bid to the NIT Tournament. We just can't give up 89 points. They've got a lot of weapons that can score the basketball."
Besides Baptiste and Saddler, the Blue Hens had five players in double figures. Davon Usher, who scored 42 points in a 67-64 win over the Cougars on Feb. 5, finished with 16 points, while Jarvis Threatt had 13 points and 13 assists and Kyle Anderson chipped in 11 points.
"They have the best offensive team in the conference - period," Wojcik said. "They can score in a lot of different ways. Usher really is the difference on their team offensively because he's such a versatile player."
Charleston sophomore Canyon Barry finished with a career-high 27 points and two assists.
"I thought Canyon played a fantastic basketball game," Wojcik said. "He had great pace to him. He made plays for other people. He made shots and he gets to the free throw line. That's monumental as we go forward."
The opening offensive possession of the game for the Cougars set the tone for the rest of the game. Walk-on Judson Hall, the younger brother of Willis Hall, knocked down a 3-pointer on a designed play. The younger Hall, who rarely gets to play, finished with three points and two rebounds in two minutes of action.
"I can't describe how great of a feeling that was for me," said Willis Hall. "I mean, he was on pace to score 60 points and grab 40 rebounds."
After Judson Hall's 3-pointer, very little went right for the Cougars as the Blue Hens built an 18-10 lead.
But the Cougars chipped away at the Blue Hens' advantage, eventually grabbing a 25-24 lead on Nori Johnson's 3-pointer with 6:47 to play.
Charleston took its biggest lead, 47-39, on Anthony Thomas' layup with 19:22 to play in the game.
Delaware answered with a 15-7 run and tied the game at 54-54 on two free throws from Threatt with 12:47 to play.
Neither team was able to wrest control of the game until Anderson put the Blue Hens up for good, 74-70, with a 3-pointer with 5:37 to play.
The Cougars would get as close as 83-80 on Johnson's fourth 3-pointer of the game with 2:02 to play.
Charleston had two chances to tie the game, but misses from Johnson, Stitt and Adejhi Baru would doom the Cougars in the final minute.
"It's unfortunate that we didn't win the game, but we did a lot of good things," Wojcik said.
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