Davidson 87, Charleston 69
Led by 6-10 junior Jake Cohen, Davidson took command of the Southern Conference South Division on Thursday as the Wildcats cruised to an 87-69 win over the College of Charleston at Belk Arena in Davidson, N.C.
The Wildcats, 13-4 overall, improved to 7-0 in the league.
Charleston fell to 12-6 and 4-3, setting up a big South Division showdown for the Cougars Saturday at Georgia Southern, which lost to Furman on Thursday and fell to 4-3 in the league.
Wofford also is 4-3 in the South after a win Thursday over Appalachian State.
Cohen scored 29 points, 24 of them coming in the first half, and added 14 rebounds to lead Davidson, which has now won six straight games. Charleston, 2-3 in January games, has now lost three straight Thursday contests.
"Every game is a big game. We have to be ready to play against a much-improved Georgia Southern team. It's amazing how good this league is," said Cougars coach Bobby Cremins.
The Wildcats stymied the College of Charleston in the first half, breaking away from an early 8-8 tie to take a 31-16 lead with under eight minutes to go before the break. Charleston managed to cut Davidson's lead to six points, 37-31, when Antwaine Wiggins scored his second four-point play of the half (a 3-pointer plus a free throw) with 3:43 left. But Davidson bumped the lead back to 46-34 by halftime.
Davidson got up by 17 points early in the second half only to see Charleston nibble away and get the lead back to single digits, 57-48, with 14:24 remaining. Charleston closed within six points, 61-55, when Andrew Lawrence hit a pair of free throws with 9 1/2 minutes to go. But the Wildcats managed to stretch the lead back out and put the Cougars away.
"We played a gutty second half and got back in it. But give Davidson credit. They're very, very good. They're physical and they can shoot the ball," Cremins said.
"We got off to a really bad start, and you hate to do that on the road. We had a couple of chances to make it intriguing, but Davidson is something else. They're relentless. We had a great opportunity but we couldn't get over that hump."
Lawrence led C of C with 18 points and added five assists and four rebounds. Wiggins scored 17 points and had a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Nori Johnson, making only his second career start, had a career-high 15 points.