Cougars Host Gardner-Webb In ESPN BracketBusters On Saturday
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (20-8, 12-4 SoCon) vs. GARDNER-WEBB (17-11, 9-5 Big South)
February 23, 2013 • 4:00 p.m. (ET)
TD Arena/John Kresse Court (5,100)
at Charleston, S.C.
Radio: College of Charleston Radio Network (ESPN Radio 910 AM)
Series History: CofC Leads 1-0
Last Meeting: CofC def. Gardner-Webb, 81-63, on Dec. 9, 2000 in Charleston, S.C.
Internet: Pay-Per-View Video via Charleston Sports Network on www.CofCSports.com
College of Charleston: Doug Wojcik
First Year at CofC: 20-8 (.714)
Eighth Year Overall: 160-100 (.615)
Gardner-Webb: Chris Holtmann
Third Year at GWU: 40-52 (.435)
Third Year Overall: 40-52 (.435)
RADIO (College of Charleston Radio Network)
Play-By-Play: Jeff McCarragher
Color Analyst: Everett German
The College of Charleston men's basketball team (20-8) will take a short break from Southern Conference action as it plays host to Gardner-Webb (17-11) out of the Big South Conference as part of the 2013 Ramada Worldwide ESPN BracketBusters event on Saturday, Feb. 23, at TD Arena. Tipoff between the Cougars and Runnin' Bulldogs is set for 4 p.m. (ET). CofC has won eight of its last nine games including a 67-65 road victory at Western Carolina on Feb. 20, which assured the team one of four first-round byes in the upcoming 2013 SoCon Tournament on March 8-11 in Asheville, N.C. The Cougars have compiled an 8-4 record this season against non-conference foes, three of which were losses to major-conference opponents in St. John's, Auburn and Louisville. Both teams feature two of the nation's top scoring defenses as CofC is holding opponents to 62.1 points per game (72nd) and Gardner-Webb 60.9 points per game (47th) as of Feb. 21. The 11th annual BracketBusters, a two-day men's college basketball event, pits potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls selected from a pool of 122 teams from 15 conferences against each other three weeks before NCAA Selection Sunday on March 17. As part of the agreement, CofC will play a return game at the home facility of GWU in November or December of the 2013-14 season.
GARDNER-WEBB AT A GLANCE
The Runnin' Bulldogs are riding a four-game win streak including a 13-point victory over Winthrop (65-52) on Feb. 19. They are currently tied for second in the South Division standings with a 9-5 mark in Big South play - two games behind divisional leader Charleston Southern. Gardner-Webb is 8-6 versus non-conference foes this year with early season losses at then-No. 11-ranked North Carolina (59-76) on Nov. 9, at Iowa (56-65) on Nov. 17 and a close one-point setback at Illinois (62-63) on Nov. 25. The Runnin' Bulldogs snapped CSU's eight-game win streak in a 74-73 overtime thriller on Jan. 30, which saw top player Tashan Newsome score 22 points including the game-winner over the Bucs. Newsome is averaging a team-leading 14.2 points per game and is a preseason All-Big South Second Team selection. GWU is 1-1 this season against SoCon opponents with a loss at Wofford (42-54) on Dec. 5 and a win over The Citadel (71-58) on Dec. 15.
COUGARS ALL-TIME IN ESPN BRACKETBUSTERS
CofC is 5-1 all-time in BracketBuster games and has won its last five-straight appearances in the event. Last season, the Cougars defeated Kent State, 80-73, on Feb. 18, 2012 in Kent, Ohio. CofC's four other BracketBusters wins came against VCU in 2005, Georgia State in 2006, George Mason in 2010 and Vermont in 2011.
COUGARS ALL-TIME IN ESPN BRACKETBUSTERS (5-1)
2004 - College of Charleston at Western Michigan, L, 78-83, on 2/21/04
2005 - VCU at College of Charleston, W, 85-75, on 2/19/05
2006 - Georgia State at College of Charleston, W, 83-75, on 2/18/06
2010 - College of Charleston at George Mason, W, 85-83, on 2/20/10 (ESPN2)
2011 - Vermont at College of Charleston, W, 85-70, on 2/19/11 (ESPNU)
2012 - College of Charleston at Kent State, W, 80-73, on 2/18/12
2013 - Gardner-Webb at College of Charleston on 2/23/13
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 TD Arena on the College of Charleston Radio Network.
PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS
#22 Anthony Stitt, G, 6-1, 180, So. (10.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, 32.7 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, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 29.1 min)
#53 Willis Hall, F, 6-6, 235, RS-Jr. (7.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.8 apg, 23.8 min)
#1 Adjehi Baru, F, 6-9, 225, So. (10.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 0.6 apg, 31.5 min)
PROJECTED GARDNER-WEBB STARTERS
#2 Tyler Strange, G, 5-9, 175, So. (5.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.1 apg, 30.0 min)
#3 Tashan Newsome, G, 6-3, 200, RS-Sr. (14.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 28.1 min)
#0 Donta Harper, G, 6-6, 185, So. (13.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, 28.8 min)
#24 Kevin Hartley, F, 6-6, 235, Sr. (8.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 28.3 min)
#35 Jerome Hill, F, 6-5, 210, Fr. (6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.2 apg, 19.0 min)
For only the second time in both teams' program history, CofC and Gardner-Webb will face-off against each other on the hardwood. It's been nearly 13 years since their first initial meeting in the John Kresse Era, where the Cougars defeated the Runnin' Bulldogs, 81-63, on Dec. 9, 2000, at John Kresse Arena.
TWO-HEADED BACK COURT
The Cougars have benefited this season from their two-headed back court comprised of senior captain Andrew Lawrence (London, England) and sophomore Anthony Stitt (Charlotte, N.C.). Both currently rank among the top 10 assists leaders in the SoCon as Lawrence is averaging 3.8 assists per game (4th) and Stitt 3.2 apg (10th). Lawrence is one assist away from recording his second consecutive 100+ assist season (99), while Stitt can turn in his first with 89 on the season with three regular-season games remaining. It would mark the first time CofC had two players with 100 assists each in a single season since Andrew Goudelock (131) and Tony White, Jr. (106) did so in 2009-10.
AGAINST THE BIG SOUTH
Gardner-Webb will be CofC's third opponent hailing from the Big South this season next to a 72-67 (+5) road win at Charleston Southern on Nov. 28 and a 60-51 (+9) home victory over Coastal Carolina on Dec. 22. The Cougars have won nine-straight contests against Big South opponents including victories over Winthrop (2009), Charleston Southern (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012), Coastal (2010, 2011 and 2012) and UNC Asheville (2011) at the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
• Coach Wojcik has never faced Gardner-Webb in his eight years as a Division I head coach. However, he is an undefeated 4-0 against Big South Conference schools with a pair of wins versus Presbyterian in back-to-back seasons at Tulsa in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and the Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina wins earlier this year with the Cougars.
"To me, Gardner-Webb is no different than Western Carolina. We played Western Carolina for the first time the other night and will play Gardner-Webb for the first time on Saturday. For the first two years, some of these teams, conference or non-conference, are going to be first-time opponents for me and my staff. We've treated Gardner-Webb like it's our next conference game."
• With Boiling Springs, N.C., not too far from the Charlotte metro area, it's no surprise that there are connections between the CofC and Gardner-Webb players on the roster who hail from the Tar Heel State. CofC's Anthony Stitt played against GWU's Donta Harper in high school. Both were named to the 2010-11 North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-State Second Team, Stitt starring at Butler and Harper at South Central.
WESTERN CAROLINA RECAP
CofC 67, Western Carolina 65
• For the 24th time this year, CofC used the starting lineup of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, redshirt junior Willis Hall and sophomore forward Adjehi Baru (19-5).
• With the win, the Cougars now lead 18-7 in the all-time series with Western Carolina. It was their first victory on the road in Cullowhee since the 2007-08 season - also a two-point win (86-84) by CofC on Dec. 1, 2007.
• Junior forward Trent Wiedeman registered his 16th career double-double and third of the season with a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench against the Catamounts.
• CofC turned in its fourth 20-win season over the last five years and first under head coach Doug Wojcik. The Cougars are one of only 30 NCAA Division I schools to reach the 20-win mark this season. Wojcik became the third consecutive first-year head coach of the Cougars to lead his team to 20 wins next to Tom Herrion (25-8 in 2002-03) and Bobby Cremins (22-11 in 2006-07).
• The Cougars (10-2) also recorded their 10th road win of the season which is tied for the most in the nation with Miami (10-1), Louisiana Tech (10-3), Bucknell (10-4), Stony Brook (10-5) and UT Arlington (10-3).
• For the 24th time this season out of 28 games, CofC outrebounded its opponent, 42-38 (+4).
COUGAR SOUND BITES
"Gardner-Webb has had a good basketball history in recent years and is very well coached. They don't beat themselves. They are a team that you have to beat, because they are not going to make many mistakes. They won a huge game at UNC Asheville after being down 27-8. They are not a team that gets rattled and they stay with what they do. They have a four-man in the (Kevin) Hartley kid who can stretch the defense and shoot it. He is very dangerous, because he can shoot the three. They are very dependent on their two wing players in (Tashan) Newsome and (Donta) Harper, who are both keys to the game. They are both big, have great size and drive the ball. Gardner-Webb is an outstanding free throw shooting team, and, for not being a big team, they outrebound their opponents. They are a team with 17 wins who have won their last four. It will be a challenging game for us." - CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik on the matchup with Gardner-Webb
"Preparation will be the same. They (Gardner-Webb) are a pretty good team - a Big South opponent. Luckily, that is a conference we are familiar with having played Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern this year and UNC Asheville last year in the Bahamas. They are a heavy guard-oriented team which will be a good matchup for our guards. They are hot right now having won seven out of their last eight games and have a shooting four-man (in Kevin Hartley). BracketBusters has always been a fun and exciting game for us and I think we are all in store for another good one on Saturday." - Redshirt Junior Forward Willis Hall on playing a non-conference game late in the season in Gardner-Webb
"We know we need to stay focused the entire 40 minutes of the game. We have to finish and control late-game situations. Right now, it's momentum time. We have to go into it and swing it our way. It's always good to go into the (SoCon) tournament with a couple of wins under your belt. You definitely don't want to go into the tournament with a bad taste in your mouth. You want to go in with a lot of confidence and be ready to play." - Hall on learning from the Western Carolina game and moving forward with three games left in the regular season