COUGARS DEN: CofC needs to get healthy to face East Carolina

College of Charleston freshman guard Marquise Pointer dribbles the ball against The Citadel this past Saturday. (photo by Michael Wiser)

The College of Charleston’s 82-74 victory over The Citadel on Saturday was a solid effort with only minor hangover effects from the win over LSU on Monday.

Yes, the Cougars struggled at times against The Citadel, but the Bulldogs started two seniors, two juniors and a freshman against the Cougars, who countered with two freshmen, a sophomore, a junior and a JUCO, who has only played in seven games in the system.

I think when Duggar Baucom gets “his” players in the system, the Bulldogs will be a tough out for any team. They run, they shoot, they press. They pressure their opponents at both ends of the floor.

The Citadel had its moments, especially in the second half when they started to make their 3-pointers. There was a moment when the Bulldogs could have taken control of the game late in the second half, but the Cougars finished the game on a 14-2 run, which included scoring the final nine points of the game.

This is a game the Cougars would probably have lost last year.

“Ever since I came here 14 months ago, we’ve been trying to figure out how to finish off games,” said CofC coach Earl Grant. “I was proud of the way we played down the stretch.”

The Cougars played without two starters Donovan Gilmore (ankle) and Terrance O’Donohue (back), so they were down to eight players in the rotation. Everyone played and everyone got significant minutes.

I thought the game took a lot out of the CofC and it’ll be interesting to see what they’ve got left in the tank after such a short turnaround and the pace of the game.

They could use a healthy Gilmore and O’Donohue against East Carolina, which is a big, physical team.

Also, you’ve got exam finals coming up this week for the first time for some freshmen. It’s a stressful week.

EAST CAROLINA (5-3) at COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (5-2)

When: Monday.

Time: 7 p.m.

Where: TD Arena.

Radio: WTMZ 910-AM

Series History: Tied, 1-1.

Last Meeting: CofC def. East Carolina, 72-68, on Feb. 3, 1992 in Charleston, S.C.

THE COACHES

College of Charleston: Earl Grant is 14-26 in 2nd season at CofC.

East Carolina: Jeff Lebo, 92-83, in sixth season at ECU; 303-239 in 18th season overall.

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

#3 Payton Hulsey, G, 6-5, 215, Jr.-Tr. (5.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, 22.4 min)

#24 Canyon Barry, G, 6-6, 210, Jr. (20.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.1 apg, 32.9 min)

#12 Cameron Johnson, G, 6-4, 196, So. (12.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.1 apg, 30.3 min)

#5 Jarrell Brantley, F, 6-7, 245, Fr. (6.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 0.9 apg, 22.0 min)

#23 Nick Harris, F, 6-10, 245, RS-Fr. (3.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.3 apg, 12.2 min)

PROJECTED EAST CAROLINA STARTERS

#4 Prince Williams, G, 6-5, 200, Sr. (7.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.7 apg, 21.8 min)

#21 B.J. Tyson, G, 6-3, 180, So. (13.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 29.5 min)

#2 Caleb White, F, 6-7, 205, Jr. (12.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.3 apg, 32.8 min)

#10 Clarence Williams, F, 6-8, 195, Jr. (3.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 apg, 13.9 min)

#34 Michael Zangari, F, 6-9, 240, Sr. (7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.5 apg, 21.3 min)

SERIES HISTORY

The Cougars and Pirates are tied 1-1 in the all-time series and last met during the 1991-92 season – ironically CofC’s first year as a NCAA Division I member. Under legendary head coach John Kresse, the Cougars claimed a four-point decision (72-68) on Feb. 3, 1992 at John Kresse Arena, which avenged a 14-point road loss to the Pirates in both teams’ first meeting in the series in 1990 in Greenville, N.C.

They Said It:

“It’s a completely different game in regard to style of play and pace. East Carolina plays zone every possession compared to The Citadel, who wants to score on every play. For us, playing defense is a big part of our philosophy. We don’t change our style of play, no matter whom we play. We play man-to-man defense and contest every shot. We like to box out and give the opponent one chance to score each possession. The more we get stops, the more we can run our offense. It’s definitely a quick turnaround, with one day to prepare after a great win at The Citadel. This game is like final exams for us in basketball. It’s our last game with a six-day break between games. We need to go out there tomorrow night and play our best basketball against a very talented team.” – College of Charleston coach Earl Grant.

“We know East Carolina is a good driving team and has a lot of size. Later this week, we will buckle down and get our studies done (during final exams week). It has been really fun to play in this type of atmosphere at home. The crowd gives us a lot of energy and we really feed off of it. We will continue to play our style of defense, but we still need to work on executing our plays more and running them well in our next two games at home.” –College of Charleston freshman guard Marquise Pointer.

APM