There’s just no way to sugarcoat the loss at Delaware on Wednesday night.
The Cougars had a 20-point lead with eight minutes left in the game and lost mainly due to 26 turnovers and their inability to hit free throws down the stretch. Call it what you want – a choke job, a collapse – whatever adjective you think fits.
It was bad and Cougars coach Doug Wojcik was as down as I’ve seen him in the last two seasons. He took the loss hard.
What you can’t do if you’re the Cougars is let that game beat you twice. That’s where the head coach and the coaching staff come in.
Yes, they blew it, but the Cougars also played some of their best basketball of the season during those first 32 minutes. They controlled tempo, the crushed the Blue Hens on the glass and they made shots and defended. Those first 32 minutes couldn’t have done much better.
Yes, Delaware war ripe for the loss. They were tired, they had one of their top offensive players (Jarvis Threatt) out of the lineup due to suspension. Threatt, who averages nearly 18 points a game, should be back when the two teams play again in Charleston on March 1 in the regular-season finale.
Now they’ve got think about what they did right in the first 32 minutes of the game, which was about everything, and learn from the mistakes of the last eight minutes – turnovers and missed free throws – and turn their attention to Towson, which many picked to win the CAA this season.
We all know about Jerrelle Benimon. He’s a Player of the Year candidate in the CAA and had a very good game against the Cougars, going for 21 points and 11 rebounds. But the two guys that really hurt the Cougars were Mike Burwell, who had 18 points, and Rafriel Guthrie, who came off the bench to get 14 points.
How the Cougars defend Burwell and Guthrie will determine the outcome of Saturday’s game.
Here’s an off-the-court story that appeared in the Baltimore Sun about Towson coach and former CofC assistant coach Pat Skerry. Skerry’s son Owen has autism.
Here are some highlights from Towson’s win over James Madison.
College of Charleston (12-12, 4-5) at Towson (15-8, 6-2)
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: SECU Arena (5,200) in Towson, MD
Series: CofC leads, 2-2.
Last Meeting: Towson def. CofC, 72-57, on Jan. 19, 2014 in Charleston, S.C.
TV/Radio: CSS/WTMZ 910-AM
College of Charleston
Coach: Doug Wojcik, 36-23, in 2nd season at CofC; 176-114 overall in 9th season.
PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS
#22 Anthony Stitt, G, 6-1, 180, Jr. (10.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 33.8 min)
#11 Nori Johnson, G/F, 6-5, 209, Sr. (7.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 20.1 min)
#3 Anthony Thomas, SF, 6-7, 207, Sr. (7.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.1 apg, 25.3 min)
#53 Willis Hall, F, 6-6, 235, Sr. (12.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 0.8 apg, 32.4 min)
#1 Adjehi Baru, F, 6-9, 225, Jr. (9.8 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 1.1 apg, 29.4 min)
Coach: Pat Skerry, 34-52, in 3rd season at Towson and overall.
PROJECTED TOWSON STARTERS
#23 Mike Burwell, G, 6-5, 205, Sr. (9.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 29.7 min)
#4 Four McGlynn, G, 6-2, 180, So. (9.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.0 apg, 26.7 min)
#1 Marcus Damas, F, 6-7, 210, Sr. (12.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 30.6 min)
#20 Jerrelle Benimon, F, 6-8, 245, Sr. (18.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 35.1 min)
#15 Timajh Parker-Rivera, F, 6-7, 215, So. (5.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.4 apg, 23.2 min)
College of Charleston continues to clean the glass outrebounding its opponents in 16-of-24 contests this season. The Cougars outboarded Delaware 38-17 (+21) the team’s largest rebound margin of the year. They have reached double-digit rebounding margins on seven occasions and have posted a 5-2 record in those particular games versus Arizona State (+17) on Nov. 29, Coker (+17) on Dec. 12, The Citadel (+12) on Dec. 29, Davidson (+12) on Jan. 1, James Madison (+17) on Jan. 7 and Hofstra (+13) on Feb. 1. CofC currently ranks No. 31 nationally in rebounding margin (+5.8).
The Cougars have shot the three-ball well in conference play at a 43.2 percent (76-of-176) clip from downtown. They have made 50 percent or more of their threes in 5-of-9 CAA games including a season-best 53.3 three-point field-goal percentage in a road win at Northeastern (8-of-15) on Jan. 13 behind the marksmanship of senior Nori Johnson (28), junior Anthony Stitt (24) and Willis Hall (17). CofC drained a season-high 12 treys in the league opener against JMU on Jan. 7 and versus Hofstra on Feb. 1.
They Said It:
“It (the Delaware loss) still stings, but we know we can play with anybody in this league. At the beginning of the year, I said that we could win every game and lose every game. We haven’t really separated ourselves, but I know we are a tough prep for people. Two road games in one week is a little demanding. What’s important for us is to get our rest, get our minds right and get some school work done. Saturday at 2 p.m. is going to be here before we know it.” – CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik.
“ (Rafriel) Guthrie is an X-Factor and a wild card off the bench for them. He drives the ball and is aggressive. If things go well for them, he is really dangerous. We know what (Jerrelle) Benimon’s strengths are. He is the player of the year in the league and you are not going to completely stop him. That’s one of the things you learn from the first game – matchups.” – Coach Wojcik.
“We need to defend ball screens better and rebound. We are almost identical to Towson in the way we both play defense and rebound the ball. They hang their hats on playing defense the same way that we do. It’s definitely going to be a fight on the boards on Saturday.” – CofC forward Anthony Thomas.