Cougars Den: Transition defense will be a key for Cougars against Davidson

College of Charleston's Canyon Barry last year against Davidson. (photo by Al Samuels).

I know it was only Navy, but the College of Charleston showed me a little something Monday night against the Midshipmen.

Down 11-0 to start the game, the Cougars didn’t wilt, they didn’t fold, they didn’t stop playing.

As a matter of fact, they did just the opposite. They showed some grit, some toughness and some perseverance in their 72-58 win over the Midshipmen.

Yes, again, it’s only Navy and they don’t look like world beaters, but the Cougar team a year ago might have not fought back like they did on Monday night.

Again, I don’t know how many games this team will win (as I’ve said, my guess is they will be .500), but they will be fun to watch and they will play hard every night.

You can tell that CofC head coach Earl Grant is “all in” this season. His former Clemson colleague Dabo Swinney would be proud. He is more intense and more involved than he was a year ago and the players are responding to him. He is laying a foundation for good things to come.

Now, the Cougars will head up to Davidson on Saturday and the Wildcats are a different animal altogether.

Besides LSU and Miami, this will be the best team the Cougars will face all season.

Davidson guard Jack Gibbs is a player. He had 35 points in the Wildcats win over Central Florida in the season opener and had a double-double last year in Davidson’s win at TD Arena.

You’re not going to stop a guy like Gibbs, but you can make him work for everything he gets. I anticipate that Cougars guard Cameron Johnson will draw the defensive assignment on Gibbs and the former Clarke Central High School QB will have his work cut out for him. Johnson is athletic and strong enough to hang with Gibbs, but picking up fouls could become an issue. Gibbs is one of those guys that will get the benefit of the doubt from the refs.

The key for the Cougars will be their transition defense. The Wildcats will run at you on a make or missed basket and the Cougars have to be ready. They’ve been working on their transition defense all week in practice. It’ll be interesting to see how they do against a team like Davidson that loves to pressure you all over the court.

I’ll be on the scene at Belk Arena, so looking forward to the game.

Below you’ll see some highlights from Davidson’s win over Central Florida.

APM

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (2-0) at DAVIDSON (1-0)

When: Saturday.

Time: 1 p.m.

Where: John Belk Arena (5,295), Davidson, N.C.

Radio: WTMZ 910-AM

Series History: Davidson Leads 54-15

Last Meeting: Davidson def. College of Charleston, 80-68, on Dec. 20, 2014 in Charleston, S.C.

THE COACHES

College of Charleston: Earl Grant is 10-24 in 2nd season at CofC.

Davidson: Bob McKillop is 497-300 in 27th season at Davidson

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

#3 Payton Hulsey, G, 6-5, 215, Jr.-Tr. (3.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.5 apg, 23.0 min)

#24 Canyon Barry, G, 6-6, 210, Jr. (26.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.5 apg, 27.5 min)

#12 Cameron Johnson, G, 6-4, 196, So. (14.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, 31.0 min)

#0 Donovan Gilmore, F, 6-7, 205, So. (2.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.0 apg, 8.0 min)

#5 Jarrell Brantley, F, 6-7, 245, Fr. (4.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 0.5 apg, 22.0 min)

PROJECTED DAVIDSON STARTERS

#3 Brian Sullivan, G, 6-0, 185, Sr. (15.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 38.0 min)

#5 Jordan Barham, G, 6-5, 220, Sr. (15.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg., 1.0 apg, 25.0 min)

#12 Jack Gibbs, G, 6-0, 195, Jr. (35.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 35.0 min)

#23 Peyton Aldridge, F, 6-7, 205, So. (9.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.0 apg, 38.0 min)

#25 Jake Belford, F, 6-9, 220, Jr. (10.0 ppg, 12.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 32.0 min)

SERIES HISTORY

Davidson leads 54-15 in the all-time series with College of Charleston. Last season, the Wildcats defeated CofC at home, 80-68, on Dec. 20, 2014 at TD Arena. Only four of CofC’s 15 victories in the series dating back to 1927 have been won on the road. This will be just the third meeting outside of Southern Conference play for the Cougars and Wildcats.

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