COUGARS DEN: It could get ugly Thursday night against Towson

Jarrell Brantley driving the hoop in the College of Charleston's win over Delaware at TD Arena on January 23, 2015(Michael Wiser)

If you’re a father, husband, brother, grandfather or uncle (let me see, I think I’ve covered all the male relatives in the family) you might want to keep your daughter, wife, sister, granddaughter or niece, away from tomorrow night’s College of Charleston-Towson basketball game at TD Arena.

The last time these two teams met, it was an ugly affair that saw only one player – CofC’s Cameron Johnson – score in double-digits in the Cougars 40-37 win back on Jan. 21.

Trust me, as someone who was paid to watch that game, it might have set offensive basketball back a few decades. The fans in attendance at SECU Arena that cold night (this was just before Snowmaggeddon hit the East Coast) should have asked for their money back.

My guess is that Thursday night’s match-up won’t be for the faint of heart.

On the other hand, if you love tough, grinding, physical action this might be the game you’ve been waiting for all season.

These are the two best defensive teams in the Colonial Athletic Association (the Cougars have the top scoring defense in the CAA) and it’s not because of the way either team plays offensively. With a 30-second shot clock, the Cougars are giving up less than 64 points a game, which is pretty impressive. Both teams will contest every shot, so the team that gets the most easy baskets will probably win.

I watched a replay of the Cougars loss to UNC Wilmington (remember up at my father’s 90th birthday party) and thought the Seahawks defensive pressure took its toll on the Cougars, especially in the backcourt.

When you’re only playing seven or eight players each night (James Bourne got in for a couple of minutes. His first action since having knee surgery) a team like UNCW is going to wear you down with their pressure.

For the most part, the Cougars have done a pretty good job protecting the basketball this season, so this was an uncharacteristic game with 18 turnovers. The Cougars did have 12 steals.

Three more wins and the Cougars assure themselves of a winning record and after all the injuries this season that would be a major accomplishment for this program. As P&C columnist Gene Sapakoff wrote last week, Earl Grant should be in the running for CAA coach of the Year.

Enclosed are some highlights, well, all UNCW highlights, from the Cougars game this past Saturday night.

TOWSON (16-7, 7-3 in CAA) at COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (13-8, 5-5 in CAA)

When: Thursday.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Where: TD Arena

TV/Radio: My TV/WTMZ 910-AM

Series History: Towson Leads 5-3

Last Meeting: CofC def. Towson, 40-37, on Jan. 21, 2016 in Towson, Md.

THE COACHES

College of Charleston: Earl Grant is 22-32 in 2nd season at CofC.

Towson: Pat Skerryis 72-81 in 5thseason at Towson; 96-106 in 7th season overall.

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

#21 Marquise Pointer, G, 6-0, 205, Fr. (11.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.9 apg, 28.2 min)

#12 Cameron Johnson, G, 6-4, 196, So. (12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 32.1 min)

#3 Payton Hulsey, G, 6-5, 215, Jr.-Tr. (4.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 26.9 min)

#5 Jarrell Brantley, F, 6-7, 245, Fr. (10.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.5 apg, 27.0 min)

#23 Nick Harris, F, 6-10, 245, RS-Fr. (4.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.4 apg, 18.0 min)

PROJECTED TOWSON STARTERS

#1 Byron Hawkins, G, 6-1, 180, So. (13.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.1 apg, 30.7 min)

#23 Mike Morsell, G, 6-5, 190, So. (12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 29.5 min)

#10 John Davis, F, 6-5, 235, Jr. (10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.6 apg, 24.1 min)

#24 Arnaud William Adala Moto, F, 6-6, 240, Jr. (14.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 28.1 min)

#15 Timajh Parker-Rivera, F, 6-7, 215, Sr. (5.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.4 apg, 23.7 min)

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

The Cougars have compiled an 8-3 record this season within the friendly confines of TD Arena – winners of their last two contests against Delaware (59-58) on Jan. 23 and Northeastern (68-61 OT) on Jan. 28. With four games remaining on its home slate, CofC is two victories away from reaching the 10-win mark for the first time at home since posting a 11-8 record in the venue in 2012-13.

They Said It

“Obviously, we want to get more easy baskets and 10-or-12 more points in transition. That will help us a lot and something we need to improve on. I thought the tempo was fine. We didn’t give up any easy baskets on the other end, because of turnovers or rushed shots. Therefore, we didn’t give up any points in transition and our defense was set every time – why we were able to hold them to 37 points.” – CofC coach Earl Grant.

“We have to be gritty and prepared. Like Coach (Grant) always says, ‘defense wins us games.’ We have to bring our best defense on Thursday night. It’s not really about changing the way we play, but focusing in on getting offensive rebounds and tip-ins. While we still have to focus on our offense, we just need to do what Coach tells us to do and run our plays well. We know it’s going to be a battle. They’re (Towson) good at defense and we are good at defense, too, so yes, it will probably be another low-scoring game.” – CofC forward Nick Harris.

APM