COUGARS DEN: CofC can’t play to level of competition

Charleston's Payton Hulsey drives to the basket against Towson's Josh Ivory during their game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 at TD Arena. Paul Zoeller/Staff

A couple of things I took from College of Charleston’s 65-47 win over Towson on Thursday night.

First, how does Towson have seven wins in the Colonial Athletic Association?

Towson head coach Pat Skerry should be in consideration for CAA coach of the Year because he’s getting everything he can out of this team offensively. I thought without Canyon Barry, Joe Chealey and Grant Riller, the Cougars offense was not very good, until I watched Towson.

Their base offense is throw up a shot and go get the offensive rebound.

That’s it.

Now, they play hard and they are long and athletic, but this team has no flow offensively. For a conference as balanced as the CAA is this year, it’s a miracle they’ve won seven league games.

Second, despite what I’ve been reading on fan websites and from the texts and emails I’ve gotten, I thought the game Thursday night was officiated pretty well. The zebras were a little inconsistent with how they called the game in the first and second halves. The refs let ‘em play in the opening 20 minutes, but it got physical, so they had to take control of the game. A couple of technical fouls and touch fouls later and everyone settled down for the most part.

You might not like TV Ted Valentine, and yes he sometimes makes the game as much about him as the players and coaches, but he’s a solid official.

In other matters, the more I watch CofC guard/forward Payton Hulsey the more I respect his game and what he brings to this team.

He’s not flashy, he’s not a huge scoring threat, but he does everything well, except shoot the long-range shot. CofC SID Marlene Navor provided some info below, but suffice is to say the Cougars wouldn’t be where they are right now without Hulsey.

He came up with two huge rebounds late in the second half against Towson when the game was still in doubt. That might have gone unnoticed by some of you, but those were big plays in the game. He takes care of the basketball, he’s unselfish and he can guard four position on the floor. Payton Hulsey will be missed when he leaves after next season.

A young team has a tendency to play down to the level of the competition. We saw this the first time CofC played Drexel. It was just after Barry went out of the lineup and two days after upsetting Hofstra at home.

This is a game that shouldn’t have been close. The Cougars controlled the game for long stretches, but failed to close out the win.

To Drexel’s credit, they battled all afternoon and found a way to win, something they haven’t done much of this season. It’s been a rough three years for Drexel coach James “Bruiser” Flint. The Dragons had some horrific injuries the first two seasons the Cougars were in the CAA and then Damion Lee, their top scorer and a first team All-CAA pick, left to go to Louisville for a shot at an NCAA tournament bid. (Well, that’s over now that Louisville has put in a self-imposed ban on the tournament this season).

If the Cougars truly have turned the corner as a team and matured, they won’t play down to Drexel and will come out of Saturday’s game with a solid performance.

DREXEL (3-19, 1-10 in CAA) at COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (14-8, 6-5 in CAA)

When: Saturday.

Time: 4 p.m.

Where: TD Arena

TV/Radio: My TV/WTMZ 910-AM

Series History: : Series Tied 4-4

Last Meeting: Drexel def. CofC, 61-54, on Jan. 9, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pa.

THE COACHES

College of Charleston: Earl Grant is 23-32 in 2nd season at CofC.

Drexel: : James “Bruiser” Flint is 242-211 in 15th season at Drexel; 328-283 in 20th season overall.

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

#21 Marquise Pointer, G, 6-0, 205, Fr. (11.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 28.5 min)

#12 Cameron Johnson, G, 6-4, 196, So. (11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 31.8 min)

#3 Payton Hulsey, G, 6-5, 215, Jr.-Tr. (4.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.5 apg, 27.4 min)

#5 Jarrell Brantley, F, 6-7, 245, Fr. (11.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 27.3 min)

#23 Nick Harris, F, 6-10, 245, RS-Fr. (4.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.4 apg, 18.5 min)

PROJECTED DREXEL STARTERS

#12 Terrell Allen, G, 6-1, 180, Fr. (9.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.2 apg, 33.7 min)

#2 Sammy Mojica, G, 6-3, 175, So. (10.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.0 apg, 27.8 min)

#11 Tavon Allen, G, 6-7, 190, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 30.5 min)

#24 Rodney Williams, F, 6-7, 225, Jr. (9.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 24.4 min)

#32 Kazembe Abif, F, 6-7, 227, Gr.-Sr. (8.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.6 apg, 28.7 min)

HULSEY BEHIND-THE-SCENES

Junior guard Payton Hulsey (Memphis, Tenn.), a JUCO transfer from Eastern Florida State College, is a ‘do-it-all’ player for the Cougars. He is 24 assists away from recording a 100+ assist season dishing out 76 assists with just 27 turnovers in 22 games started and played this season. Hulsey currently ranks No. 39 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.81) and No. 67 in steals per game (1.8 avg.). Much of his work has been behind-the-scenes, not only in the back court, but the front court. While he leads the team in assists and steals, Hulsey is CofC’s second-leading rebounder averaging 5.3 boards per game.

They Said It

“Drexel and Towson are very similar teams. They fight you, hit you and it’s going to be low scoring. They are athletic and physical. If you let them push you around on the glass, they will get offensive rebounds and stick it back in. They have a really good post player in Rodney Williams, who can score, so we have to do a good job of keeping him out of the paint. They also have quick guards – playing three point guards at all times – who always like to drive you and attack. We will have to be sharp, because it will be very similar to our game against Towson.” – CofC coach Earl Grant.

“They (short turnarounds) are real tough. We can’t celebrate too long from the Towson win. We have to come back into the gym, get work done, get fluids, take care of our bodies and get some rest. It will be another tough battle against a similar team to Towson in Drexel on Saturday.” – CofC point guard Marquise Pointer

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