Cougars Gear Up for Mid-Week SoCon Clash at Western Carolina

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (19-8, 11-4 SoCon) vs. WESTERN CAROLINA (11-16, 8-7 SoCon)

Game #28

February 20, 2013 7:00 p.m. (ET)

Ramsey Center (7,826)

at Cullowhee, N.C.

 

Television: None

Radio: College of Charleston Radio Network (ESPN Radio 910 AM)

Series History: CofC Leads 17-7

Last Meeting: CofC def. Western Carolina, 62-58, on Feb. 9, 2012 in Charleston, S.C.

Internet: Pay-Per-View Video via Catamount All-Access at www.CatamountSports.com

Twitter: @CofCBasketball

 

THE COACHES

College of Charleston: Doug Wojcik

First Year at CofC: 19-8 (.704)

Eighth Year Overall: 159-100 (.614)

Western Carolina: Larry Hunter

Eighth Year at WCU: 118-134 (.468)

33rd Year Overall: 627-358 (.637)

 

RADIO (College of Charleston Radio Network)

Play-By-Play: Jeff McCarragher

Color Analyst: Everett German

 

TELEVISION (None)

College of Charleston Cougars basketball


GAME PREVIEW

With one of the best road records in the country, the College of Charleston men’s basketball team (19-8, 11-4 SoCon) gears up for a mid-week Southern Conference clash at Western Carolina (11-16, 8-7 SoCon) on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. (ET) at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C. The Cougars are winners of their last seven of eight games in league play and are coming off a 69-60 home victory over Georgia Southern on Feb. 16. They are eyeing one of four coveted first-round byes in the upcoming SoCon Tournament on March 8-11 in Asheville, N.C. CofC is 6-1 this season against North Division foes and currently one of 13 teams in the nation with nine-or-more road wins (9-2). The Cougars rank No. 67 in nationally in scoring defense (62.0 ppg), No. 33 in three-point field-goal percentage defense (30.2%), No. 37 in rebound margin (+5.3), No. 58 in blocks per game (4.5 avg) and No. 13 in personal fouls per game (14.6 avg). They will next host Gardner-Webb out of the Big South Conference in an ESPN BracketBusters matchup on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena.

 

A LOOK AT THE CATAMOUNTS

Western Carolina had its season-best tying three-game win streak snapped by divisional rival Elon in an 80-73 overtime thriller on Feb. 16. The Catamounts previously beat Georgia Southern (W, 71-62) on Feb. 9, Wofford (W, 57-56) on Feb. 11 and UNCG (W, 70-68) on Feb. 14 – all wins by nine points or less. They are paced by the SoCon’s second-leading scorer in redshirt junior guard Trey Sumler, who is averaging 18.1 points per game which ranks 44th-best nationally. WCU is also paced by one of the top three-point sharp shooters in the country in redshirt junior guard Tom Tankelewicz, a transfer from Charleston Southern, who ranks 36th in the nation connecting on 2.73 three-point field goals per game this season.

 

SOCON SCENARIOS

With three more league games remaining against Western Carolina, Wofford and Furman, two more SoCon wins would clinch a first-round tournament bye for the Cougars (11-4) or a win at WCU (8-7) and a loss by Samford (8-6) to Elon (11-3) on Saturday. Current league leader Davidson (14-1) needs one more victory to clinch the South Division title outright. Elon can clinch the North Division title with a win over Samford. Appalachian State (8-7) is also fighting for a first-round bye, but CofC would hold the tiebreaker over the Mountaineers.

 

COUGARS ON THE AIRWAVES

Fans can listen to all CofC men’s basketball games throughout the 2012-13 season on ESPN Radio 910 AM in Charleston or via a live audio link at: www.charlestonsportsradio.com. Voice of the Cougars Jeff McCarragher and color analyst Everett German will call the action live from the Ramsey Center on the College of Charleston Radio Network.

 

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

#22 Anthony Stitt, G, 6-1, 180, So. (10.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 32.5 min)

#4 Andrew Lawrence, G, 6-1, 185, Sr. (13.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.8 apg, 31.8 min)

#3 Anthony Thomas, F, 6-7, 207, Jr. (8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg, 28.8 min)

#53 Willis Hall, F, 6-6, 235, RS-Jr. (7.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.8 apg, 23.7 min)

#1 Adjehi Baru, F, 6-9, 225, So. (10.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 0.6 apg, 31.5 min)

 

PROJECTED WESTERN CAROLINA STARTERS

#0 Tom Tankelewicz, G, 6-4, 180, RS-Jr. (10.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.2 apg, 26.6 min)

#5 Trey Sumler, G, 6-2, 175, RS-Jr. (18.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.7 apg, 37.5 min)

#25 James Sinclair, G, 6-3, 180, So. (6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 apg, 29.1 min)

#24 Brandon Boggs, G, 6-5, 190, Jr. (10.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 26.7 min)

#32 Tawaski King, F, 6-8, 245, Jr. (11.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.9 apg, 32.3 min)

 

INSIDE THE SERIES

CofC holds a 17-7 advantage in the all-time series with Western Carolina. The Cougars have won four of the last six meetings between the two schools including a close four-point, 62-58 decision over the Catamounts last season on Feb. 9, 2012, at TD Arena. CofC is 7-6 all-time when playing on the road in Cullowhee, N.C. The Cougars last picked up a win at WCU during the 2007-08 campaign (W, 86-84) under former head coach Bobby Cremins, then in his second year, on Dec. 1, 2007. They have lost three-straight on the road since.

 

LAST EIGHT GAMES IN THE SERIES

W, 62-58, at Charleston, S.C. on 2/9/12 (+4)

L, 62-70, at Cullowhee, N.C. on 2/26/11 (-8)

W, 93-64, at Charleston, S.C. on 1/20/11 (+29)

L, 90-100 at Cullowhee, N.C. on 1/25/10 (-10)

W, 67-48 at Chattanooga, Tenn.^ on 3/7/09 (+19)

W, 78-67 at Charleston, S.C. on 2/11/09 (+11)

L, 68-70 at Cullowhee, N.C. on 2/5/09 (-2)

L, 57-65 at Charleston, S.C. on 2/16/08 (-8)

^ SoCon Tournament

 

GOING FOR 20

The Cougars are one win shy of recording their fourth 20-win campaign in the last five years with a current 19-8 overall record. They last compiled a 26-11 record in 2010-11, 22-12 record in 2009-10 and 27-9 and record in 2008-09. Overall, CofC has posted 20-or-more wins in a single season on 24 different occasions and 15 times since moving to NCAA Division I status in 1991-92. Doug Wojcik would become the third-straight CofC men’s head coach to reach 20 wins in his first year next to Tom Herrion (25-8 in 2002-03) and Bobby Cremins (22-11 in 2006-07). Wojcik led his Golden Hurricane squads to four 20-win campaigns in his seven years at Tulsa from 2005-12.

 

20-WIN SEASONS OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS

2008-09: 27-9

2009-10: 22-12

2010-11: 26-11

2012-13: ??

 

COUGAR SIDEBARS

Coach Wojcik has never faced Western Carolina in his eight years as a Division I head coach. He has compiled a 11-5 record versus Southern Conference opponents with wins over Elon, Furman, Chattanooga (twice), The Citadel (twice), Wofford, Appalachian State, UNCG, Samford and Georgia Southern this season.

 

Coach Wojcik has known WCU Head Coach Larry Hunter for years and followed him growing up when Hunter was the head coach from 1989-2001 at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, which is located close to Wojcik’s hometown of Wheeling, W. Va. Both also coached in the ACC at the same time when Wojcik was an assistant coach under Matt Doherty at North Carolina from 2000-03 and Hunter an associate head coach under Herb Sendek at North Carolina State from 2001-05.

 

“I’ve known Coach Hunter a long time. He is a great coach and has the highest career winning percentage in our league. Most people think it’s (Davidson Head) Coach McKillop (.615), but it’s Coach Hunter (.637). He has won 63 percent of his games in his career.” – Coach Wojcik

 

Junior big man Trent Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) played against Western Carolina junior forward Tawaski King (Dublin, Ga.) in high school. The two Peach State natives starred at Greater Atlanta Christian and Dublin High School respectively. Wiedeman has scored in double figures in five of the team’s last seven games off the bench with two double-doubles on the season, while King has reached double figures in five of the last eight games for the Catamounts with one double-double.

 

GEORGIA SOUTHERN RECAP

CofC 69, Georgia Southern 60

For the 23rd time this season, CofC went with the starting five of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, redshirt junior Willis Hall and sophomore forward Adjehi Baru (18-5).

With the win, College of Charleston now leads 28-19 in the all-time series with Georgia Southern and split the final regular-season series between the two schools as CofC moves to the CAA next season.

The last six games between CofC and GSU have been decided in single digits (+9).

Willis Hall recorded his ninth double-figure scoring game of the season with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor and a perfect 2-for-2 from beyond the arc and free throw line against the Eagles.

Adjehi Baru bounced back from a two-point first half with his eighth career double-double with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. It marked his seventh double-double of the season which currently leads the Southern Conference.

CofC handled the ball well with nine turnovers versus Georgia Southern and has now made 10 miscues or less in three of its last four games.

Sophomore reserve guard Trevonté Dixon saw a season-high 10 minutes of action in the ballgame contributing two points, one rebound and one steal off the bench.

The Cougars outrebounded the Eagles, 35-31 (+4), which marked the 23rd time this season to do so against an opponent.

CofC honored 2013 CofC Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees Anthony Johnson (men’s basketball), Jerry Baker (former director of athletics), Luiz Vieira (men’s soccer) and Kara Shadwick-Museler (sailing) during a timeout in each half of the contest. Johnson, a 13-year NBA veteran and CofC’s first NBA draft pick, remains the school’s all-time career assists leader (520).

 

COUGAR SOUND BITES

“Western Carolina is fighting for the bye like us as well. There are three other teams that have a chance – App State, Samford and Western Carolina. We are looking to secure that, get a 20-win season by winning our next game and continuing to get better as we lead ourselves into the conference tournament in three weeks. Western Carolina is well coached and has a kid who can get 30 (points) on you in (Trey) Sumler. They also have a big kid inside in (Tawaski) King. I like having two days to prep for each game, since both are first-time opponents for our coaching staff.” – CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik on the importance of the mid-week Southern Conference road game at Western Carolina on Wednesday night and then the Cougars’ ESPN BracketBusters game against Gardner-Webb at home on Saturday

 

“I’ve always liked traveling with these guys. It won’t be anything different. It will be another new place to see. Some of our guys have never played there. We will hunker down and dial it in. We will do our best to concentrate.” – Coach Wojcik on CofC keeping up its success on the road with a current 9-2 mark away from the friendly confines of TD Arena

 

“We know Western is a good team. We know we have to come ready to play. Any team on any given night in the SoCon can beat the other team. We really need to clinch that (tournament) bye. Our goal was at the beginning of the season was to win the regular season. If we weren’t going to do that, we needed to get the bye. That’s our main focus right now. No matter who we are playing, be it Western or Gardner-Webb, we need to come out and play our best.” – Junior Forward Trent Wiedeman on how important it is to secure to SoCon Tournament first-round bye

 

“There have been a few times this season, where we have given up a lead late in the game. We have to learn from our mistakes and not let that happen again. We have to stay aggressive and put the foot on the pedal when we have a big lead in a game.” – Wiedeman on a close call against Georgia Southern in the team’s last outing

 

“We know that the bye is very important going into the SoCon Tournament. Just the fact that your legs get tired playing four games in four days. We are really focused on the (tournament) bye, so we can have three games and put ourselves in a good position in March. We know Western has a good team and we are not going to take them likely. We have been great on the road all year. We tend to be more focused on the road. We have to do a better job of being focused at home, but on the road, there are no distractions. We have played our own game and handled our business.” – Sophomore Guard Anthony Stitt on how important playing for a first-round tournament bye is to the team

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson

About the Author:

Michael "Beach Mick" Hudson is the founder and Editor of Beach Carolina Magazine. Living along the coast of North Carolina, Mike has a passion for the beach and loves to bring news and events of the Carolinas to others around the world.

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