Post and Courier
February 5, 2012
The College of Charleston was hot from beyond the 3-point arc Saturday and rolled to a 74-62 win over Appalachian State at Holmes Center in Boone, N.C.
The victory ended a difficult 3-game road swing for the Cougars, who beat Samford Monday and lost by a point in double-overtime to Elon Thursday. Charleston will take a 14-10 and 6-7 record into an 8 p.m. game Thursday at TD Arena against Western Carolina, which lost at home Saturday to Georgia Southern, 68-65.
"I was very, very happy the way we came into the game. We came in focused and ready to play," interim coach Mark Byington said, pointing out the contrast with the loss at Elon in which the Cougars had to fight back from a 23-point first-half deficit to force overtime.
"Andrew Lawrence was tremendous. Trent Wiedeman was very, very good, although he (twisted) his ankle," Byington added. "We shot probably the highest percentage we've shot in a month and that was because we took open shots. We're getting closer, but we're not there year. If I had to grade our shot selection today it would probably be an A."
Lawrence, who played all 50 minutes of the double-overtime loss to Elon, managed to sneak in four minutes of rest Saturday. He hit 6 of 8 3-point attempts, including his first five in the first half. One of those was an attempted lob that fell in.
Lawrence added seven assists, giving him 31 in the last four games, and had three steals and three rebounds while committing four of Charleston's nine turnovers. Wiedeman had 14 points, including the Cougars' first six of the game, along with five rebounds. Nori Johnson added 11 points, while Adjehi Baru had five points and nine rebounds.
Post and Courier
February 4, 2012
Mark Byington must feel like he's between the proverbial rock and a hard place. He wants to be a head coach on the college level, and now he is one, albeit with an interim tag.
Just over a week ago, the associate head coach of the College of Charleston men's basketball team got an early morning call from coach Bobby Cremins. Cremins was taking a medical leave of absence. Byington was the logical choice to take over, a decision affirmed a few hours later by director of athletics Joe Hull.
The team, which looked so promising after getting off to a 10-2 start, has struggled since Christmas. Injuries have taken their toll, with freshman center Adjehi Baru missing a couple of games because of an ankle injury and freshman guard Anthony Stitt going down with a broken hand. And then came the news about Cremins, a man the players love.
Byington said he doesn't look at the next few weeks as a dress rehearsal, although it certainly could be perceived as such.
"Honestly, I haven't thought about that," said Byington, who will be the man in charge for only the fourth time when the Cougars play at Appalachian State today. The Cougars are 1-2 on Byington's watch.
"I'm just really concentrating on what I can do to help this team at this moment. If it helps me get this job or some other job, that would be great. But I'm not approaching it that way. I'm just trying to do whatever I can for this team. The guys have gone through so much. I'm not thinking about myself at all. That probably helps keep me focused and keeps me from being nervous."
This was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Cougars, who lost a trio of all-conference players last year, including NBA draft pick Andrew Goudelock. But there is a lot of young talent that blossomed early. Before the Christmas break, the Cougars had wins over Clemson, Massachusetts and Tennessee, and they had then-No. 4 Louisville on the ropes. The ride since has been something of a roller coaster, with youth and injuries factoring into the 3-8 record since Christmas.
"Injuries have been the biggest challenge. Sometimes we don't know who's going to be at practice. It changes game plans. It changes personnel. It changes roles," Byington said. "I think we showed signs of the talent level, of how we can play, in November and December."
Byington said he feels the growing pains the Cougars are going through will help them build depth for the Southern Conference tournament in March. Out of necessity, younger players who might have spent more time on the bench are logging minutes on the court. Stitt is expected to return in a couple of weeks, giving the Cougars a much-needed second point guard.
"I think the biggest change you'll see -- not in the short term but the long term -- is we're going to try to have a more structured offense," Byington said. "We'll try to be more disciplined and get the ball inside more.
"We've been fortunate that we've had a lot of guys that can make plays by themselves, guys like Drew Goudelock, Donavan Monroe and Tony White. But that doesn't fit who we have playing right now. The guys we have playing now are doing a lot of other things that are strong in different areas. We have to adjust in how they can be successful, and that's one of my main jobs.
"But we can't do a complete overhaul in the amount of time we have right now."
Post and Courier
February 3, 2012
A valiant comeback effort by the College of Charleston men's basketball team came up short Thursday as Elon managed to hold off the Cougars, 99-98, in double overtime at Alumni Gym in Elon, N.C.
Elon hit seven of eight 3-pointers in the first half in rolling out to a 23-point lead and the Phoenix was up 51-34 at the half. But the Cougars kept pecking away in the second half. They cut Elon's lead to 11 points midway through the second half, cut it to seven points with seven minutes left. A 9-0 run over the final three minutes capped by an Andrew Lawrence basket sent the game into the first overtime, 76-76.
Both teams scored six points in the first overtime, with Charleston falling behind by four points early but battling back to tie it at 82-82 on a bucket by Trent Wiedeman that forced the second overtime.
The teams were tied at 88 midway through the second overtime, but Elon went on a 7-0 run to take a 95-88 lead heading to the final minute. Antwaine Wiggins hit a 3-pointer to start a comeback and the Cougars pulled within 99-98 with more than 15 seconds left. Charleston got the ball back and had a shot to win, but Lawrence's shot at the buzzer missed.
Lawrence played 50 minutes, scoring a career-high 32 points and handing out eight assists for the third straight game. Wiedeman finished with a double-double, scoring 17 points and matching his career high with 17 rebounds.
Elon was led by Lucas Troutman with 26 points and Jack Isenbarger with 25.
The Cougars, who beat Elon, 63-44, in mid-January, fell to 13-10, 5-7 in the Southern Conference, while Elon improved to 11-10, 6-4.
Interim coach Mark Byington, who replaced Bobby Cremins a week ago when Cremins began a medical leave of absence, said he told his team they didn't have time to dwell on how the game started, that they needed to move on and prepare for a third straight road game, at Appalachian State Saturday at 2 p.m.
"I didn't like the start. I was disappointed in our focus and concentration," Byington said. "I told the guys at halftime that the first thing was to show pride and play hard. They kept battling, kept making plays."
After being down by 23, the Cougars made a pair of back-to-back 3-pointers to end the first half and make the deficit something they could come back from, Byington said
"We have to move on, move forward," Byington said. "We can't let this game linger and affect the game Saturday. We'll watch the tape, learn and get better."
Post and Courier
February 2, 2012
There are some good signs pointing to former College of Charleston basketball star Andrew Goudelock's future with the Los Angeles Lakers.
First, Lakers coach Mike Brown is learning how to pronounce his last name (not "Goo" or "Good," but "Goud" as in loud).
Goudelock introduced the Top 10 Plays on ESPN's SportsCenter earlier this week.
Now, the rookie guard has earned a cherished nickname from star teammate Kobe Bryant. Bryant, whose nickname is "The Black Mamba," has taken to calling Goudelock "Mini-Mamba," according to the Orange County (Calif.) Register. Bryant said Goudelock isn't afraid to shoot.
"Especially coming from the real Mamba! I hope it sticks," Goudelock said after Tuesday's 106-73 victory over Charlotte.
Goudelock, who is now backing up point guard Derek Fisher, scored 12 points and was 2 of 4 on 3-point shots against the Bobcats. Goudelock's play early in the season was limited, but he has averaged 11.5 points in the Lakers' last four games. Goudelock signed a two-year, non-guaranteed contract, but non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed on Feb. 10.
The Lakers next play at Denver on Friday at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Post and Courier
January 31, 2012
Monday's trip to Samford proved very therapeutic for an ailing College of Charleston men's basketball team. Led by senior Antwaine Wiggins' career-high 25 points, the Cougars ended a four-game losing streak with a 68-52 win over the Bulldogs at Pete Hanna Center in Birmingham, Ala.
Charleston, which has been plagued by injuries and also lost coach Bobby Cremins last Friday to a medical leave of absence, gave interim coach Mark Byington his first win in just his second game.
"I'm happy for the guys. Who was coaching wasn't as important as the guys," Byington said. "Our guys showed a lot of perseverance. They showed a lot of guts. Things weren't going well, and we could have had any number of excuses.
"I thought they played really hard. I'm proud of them. The weight of the world is off their shoulders. They had fun tonight."
The Cougars hit 37 percent of their field-goal attempts (23 of 62) but were 11 of 32 from the 3-point line (34 percent). Most importantly, though, they hit 11 of 12 free-throw attempts and outrebounded Samford, 43-34.
Charleston led by 10 points early in the game only to see Samford come back and tie the game on a couple of occasions. A pair of Wiggins 3-point baskets in less than 10 seconds allowed the Cougars to break away and take a 10-point halftime lead, 38-28.
Samford managed to cut Charleston's lead to eight points midway through the second half but a Wiggins layup ended the 8-0 run and allowed the Cougars to pull ahead and clinch the school's 12th victory in 12 tries against Samford.
Andrew Lawrence dished out eight assists for the second straight game and had 11 points. Trent Wiedeman only scored six points but had a game-high 14 rebounds. Matt Sundberg had 14 points and three rebounds
Charleston improved to 13-9, 5-6 in the Southern Conference. Samford, which scored a three-point win over league-leading Davidson on Saturday, fell to 7-14, 4-6.