Have College of Charleston basketball with your morning joe

Steve Cooney, a cameraman for ESPN, sets up on Monday for the College of Charleston's game at 8 a.m. today against Morehead State.

Brad Nettles

If it looks like everyone in the student section at today's College of Charleston basketball game just rolled out of bed, it's because they probably did. An 8 a.m. tip-off is only slightly more appealing to a college student than an early morning class.

Today's nationally televised game on ESPN between Charleston and Morehead State will mean an early rise for everyone involved - students, players, coaches, athletic department staff members, food services and the television production crew.

So how will the school get students to show up in force?

There will be a Pajama Party in the student section, and coffee and doughnuts will be served at the student entrance, which opens at 7 a.m. The men's and women's soccer teams, which normally practice in the morning, are going to attend to support their

fellow student-athletes. Some professors have found ways to work the game into classroom studies, and some are offering extra credit to those who attend the game.

Hamilton Vereen, a junior majoring in international business from Myrtle Beach, said he will get extra credit in one of his classes. But that's not the reason he's heading to the game.

"I go to as many games as I can," Vereen said. "The team's good, so I like to go."

Trey Vessent, a senior biology and exercise science major, said he would be attending the first half.

"I will be able to go to half the game, but I've got a 9:25 class," he said. "I go to as many as I can, but I'm busy with school and that makes it difficult."

Joe Hull, the college's director of athletics, said he didn't know what to anticipate in terms of attendance, even though only a few hundred tickets remained late Monday.

"I'm not sure we have any idea," Hull said. "We do think the students are going to come out, those who do not have 8 o'clock classes."

Players and coaches have awakened early several times in the last week to ready themselves, practicing at 6:30 a.m. instead of the normal 4 p.m.

"Last week we practiced two or three times at 6:30, so we should be ready for the game," junior guard Andrew Lawrence said.

Lawrence said the players will wake up in time for a 5:45 a.m. pregame meal, and then come to the arena.

"We're motivated. It's a TV game. We'll be ready to go," Lawrence said.

Cougars coach Bobby Cremins has been pleading with fans to show up and support the team.

"We don't get the ACC-SEC contracts," Cremins said. "For us to get national exposure, it's great. We want to be nationally recognized. We want people to know who we are.

"I want to ask our great fan base to please come to the game. I know it's 8 a.m., but it's a national TV game."

The television production crew began setting things up at TD Arena on Monday morning and had a 4 a.m. crew call scheduled for this morning.

"We have to be here at 4 a.m. to make sure nothing has shorted out, nothing fried, nothing nasty," said Mike Payne, a freelance production specialist from Goose Creek. "We make sure the cameras can zoom in and out. That way, if something does go wrong, we have time to fix it."