The College of Charleston's basketball woes continued Saturday. But there were some second-half moments that offered up glimmers of hope as the Cougars tried to recover from the double whammy of an extended losing streak and the loss of sixth-year coach Bobby Cremins, who announced Friday he was taking a medical leave of absence.
Wofford earned a 68-59 victory over the Cougars before a curious crowd of 4,151 at TD Arena, anxious to see how the College of Charleston would perform under interim coach Mark Byington.
The Cougars struggled on offense early as Wofford rolled up a 12-point lead that the Cougars cut to nine at the half. Missing plenty of easy opportunities, Charleston hit only 21 percent of its first-half field goal attempts (6 of 29) and only 3 of 15 from 3-point range.
In the second half, especially in the middle-to-late stages, the Cougars showed more offensive efficiency, more energy and more enthusiasm as they closed within five points. But Charleston could not put together the needed defensive stops to catch Wofford.
The Terriers improved to 14-8 and 7-3 in the Southern Conference, while Charleston dropped to 12-9, 4-6, and lost its fourth straight game. Charleston's next three games are all on the road: Monday at Samford, Thursday at Elon and Saturday at Appalachian State.
Junior Antwaine Wiggins said Friday's coaching change was tough on the players, but it felt good to get on the court "and play the game you love."
"We didn't come out with a win, but I'm proud of how we played," said Wiggins, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
Sophomore forward Trent Wiedeman, who got his 10th career double-double and sixth of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds, said it was an emotional game in light of all that happened within the past 24 hours.
"It's unfortunate we came out on the losing end, but you have to give Wofford a lot of credit," Wiedeman said. "I want to say thanks to all the fans who came out and supported us."
The Terriers were led by senior point guard Brad Loesing, who scored 18 points and had eight assists and had to get a few stitches in his chin after the game.
Byington said he was proud of how hard the Cougars played and competed.
"They were jumping on loose balls, flying around and sacrificing their bodies. If they keep playing that way, good things will happen," Byington said.
"This gives us something to build on. We started screening better, started cutting better, getting more open looks and taking better shots."
And Wiggins, the team's only senior, promised the Cougars would continue to play like that.
"Everything happens for a reason," Wiggins said of Cremins' leave of absence. "I believe coach B can turn things around. We're going to work hard for him. If we work hard, we'll have good results at the end."