What was expected to be an offensive showdown between the Southern Conference's top scorers turned into a nitty gritty defensive battle Saturday as the College of Charleston bulled its way past Appalachian State, 73-64, before a crowd of 4,758 at Carolina First Arena.
Appalachian State's Donald Sims, who was averaging 21.4 points per game, won the scoring battle, 21-15, over Charleston's Andrew Goudelock (23.8).
But it was the Cougars who earned a measure of revenge for last year's 77-54 whipping by the Mountaineers in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament.
Goudelock, who became Charleston's career scoring leader in Thursday's win over Western Carolina, was honored in a pregame ceremony by former No. 1 scorer Ken Gustafson
(2,135 points from 1971-75). Goudelock now has 2,162 career points.
"I know everyone was expecting a big shootout with two great offensive players on the court today," said Cougars coach Bobby Cremins. "It was a different game. It was a defensive game. Obviously, we were keying on Sims and they were keying on Goudelock.
"They are two great scorers. They are incredible. Every time either one of them had the ball, there were two men around them. It came down to other guys making plays."
Making the most noise was Charleston senior forward Jeremy Simmons, who had a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds. Simmons upped his career scoring total to 1,002 and joined Goudelock and Donavan Monroe (1,155), who had 10 points, as the first trio of Charleston teammates to notch more than 1,000 in a career. Antwaine Wiggins scored 14 points and added seven rebounds.
"It felt real good to hear everybody cheering. When they say hard work pays off, it does. It's just a good accomplishment," said Simmons, who reached the milestone with a pair of free throws with 10:06 left in the game.
Charleston (14-6, 7-1 SoCon) led the entire game, jumping out to a 5-0 start, and was up by 13 points just before Anthony Breeze's basket pulled the Mountaineers within 42-31 at the half.
The Cougars moved ahead by 15 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Wiggins, but could not put away the Mountaineers (8-11, 4-5), who cut the lead to single digits on four different occasions in the second half.
"We didn't come out with a lot of energy," Goudelock said. "We didn't shoot that well. But we stuck in there and played good defense and rebounded. We did what we had to do. We did some of the little things to come up with another win."
Goudelock said the Cougars not only focused defensively on Sims, but also on Omar Carter, a transfer from Charleston Southern who came into the game averaging 15.6 points. Carter, who was held scoreless by The Citadel on Thursday, did not score in the first half Saturday and finished with 10 points.
Cremins said the Cougars worked Saturday on getting the ball inside to Simmons, and he responded by hitting 6 of 8 field-goal attempts and also going 6 for 8 from the free-throw line.
"We want Jeremy to play defensively and keep rebounding," Cremins said. "We need his inside presence, defensive presence and his rebounding. He is really getting better on his offensive moves.
"We're happy to protect our home court," added Cremins, whose team will play the Mountaineers again on Feb. 24 in Boone, N.C. "We had great respect for Appalachian coming in here. We know they are a great offensive team. We wanted to play well and take care of business."
Charleston goes on the road for its next two games, Thursday at Georgia Southern and Jan. 29 at Davidson.
3-Point Goals -- ASU 3-9 (Carter 0-1, Sims 1-3, Booth 2-5); CofC 6-23 (Wiggins 2-5, Hall 1-4, Monroe 0-2, Goudelock 1-7, Lawrence 2-4, Wiedeman 0-1). Steals -- ASU 4 (Booth 2); CofC 3 (Simmons, Goudelock, Lawrence). Blocks -- ASU 2 (Hausley, Williamson); CofC 2 (Simmons, Wiggins). Turnovers -- ASU 8 (Sims 2, Woods 2); CofC 7 (Simmons 2, Goudelock, Lawrence 2). Technicals -- None. A -- 4,758.