CHARLESTON 68, SAMFORD 52
Monday's trip to Samford proved very therapeutic for an ailing College of Charleston men's basketball team. Led by senior Antwaine Wiggins' career-high 25 points, the Cougars ended a four-game losing streak with a 68-52 win over the Bulldogs at Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.
Charleston, which has been plagued by injuries and also lost coach Bobby Cremins last Friday to a medical leave of absence, gave interim coach Mark Byington his first win in just his second game.
"I'm happy for the guys. Who was coaching wasn't as important as the guys," Byington said. "Our guys showed a lot of perseverance. They showed a lot of guts. Things weren't going well, and we could have had any number of excuses.
"I thought they played really hard. I'm proud of them. The weight of the world is off their shoulders. They had fun tonight."
The Cougars hit 37 percent of their field-goal attempts (23 of 62) but were 11 of 32 from the 3-point line (34 percent). Most importantly, though, they hit 11 of 12 free-throw attempts and outrebounded Samford, 43-34.
Charleston led by 10 points early in the game only to see Samford come back and tie the game on a couple of occasions. A pair of Wiggins 3-point baskets in less than 10 seconds allowed the Cougars to break away and take a 10-point halftime lead, 38-28.
Samford managed to cut Charleston's lead to eight points midway through the second half but a Wiggins layup ended the 8-0 run and allowed the Cougars to pull ahead and clinch the school's 12th victory in 12 tries against Samford.
Andrew Lawrence dished out eight assists for the second straight game and had 11 points. Trent Wiedeman only scored six points but had a game-high 14 rebounds. Matt Sundberg had 14 points and three rebounds
Charleston improved to 13-9, 5-6 in the Southern Conference. Samford, which scored a three-point win over league-leading Davidson on Saturday, fell to 7-14, 4-6.
The Cougars remain on the road, heading to Elon on Thursday and then playing at Appalachian State on Saturday.