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Cougars Close Out SoCon Northern Road Swing at Chattanooga
Courtesy: CofCSports.com  
Release: 02/08/2013
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COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (17-7, 9-3 SoCon) vs. CHATTANOOGA (9-14, 4-6 SoCon)

Game #25

February 9, 2013 7:30 p.m. (ET)

McKenzie Arena (10,928)

at Chattanooga, Tenn.

Television: None

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

Series History: CofC Leads 17-11

Last Meeting: CofC def. Chattanooga, 86-59, on Jan. 12, 2013 in Charleston, S.C.

Internet: Live Pay-Per-View Video at www.GoMocs.com

Twitter: @CofCBasketball

THE COACHES

College of Charleston: Doug Wojcik

First Year at CofC: 17-7 (.708)

Eighth Year Overall: 157-99 (.613)

Chattanooga: John Shulman

Ninth Year at UTC: 141-141 (.500)

Ninth Year Overall: 141-141 (.500)

RADIO (College of Charleston Radio Network)

Play-By-Play: Jeff McCarragher

Color Analyst: Everett German

TELEVISION (None)


GAME PREVIEW

Riding a five-game winning streak, the College of Charleston men's basketball team (17-7, 9-3 SoCon) will close out its two-game Southern Conference Northern road swing at Chattanooga (9-14, 4-6 SoCon) on Saturday, Feb. 9 at McKenzie Arena in Chattanooga, Tenn. Tipoff between the Cougars and Mocs is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET). CofC currently owns the second-longest winning streak in the league behind a seven-game run by preseason South Division favorite Davidson (11-1). If the conference regular season ended today, the Cougars would receive the No. 3 tournament seed behind current North Division leader Elon (8-3). They are currently 5-1 against North Division foes this season and one more victory would give them their fifth consecutive 10-win campaign in SoCon play. It hasn't come easy, but CofC has found a way and rolled to its eighth road win of the year with a 69-65 decision over Samford on Feb. 7, to remain in the hunt. The Chattanooga series has always produced great games and a rivalry amongst the two programs - and the Mocs will surely look to avenge a previous 86-59 setback to the Cougars back on Jan. 12 at TD Arena.

CHATTANOOGA AT A GLANCE

The Mocs have won two of their last six games in conference play including an 89-76 home win over The Citadel on Feb. 7, which ended a four-game skid. They currently rank No. 53 nationally in rebounds per game (38.0 avg), but were dead even with the Bulldogs on the boards in their last outing, 28-28. Chattanooga leads the SoCon in offensive rebounds (13.6 avg), while CofC is tops in defensive rebounds (25.7 avg). Junior forward Z. Mason paces the Mocs in scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg) which ranks 12th and fourth respectively among league leaders.

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 McKenzie Arena on the College of Charleston Radio Network.

PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS

#22 Anthony Stitt, G, 6-1, 180, So. (10.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 32.5 min)

#4 Andrew Lawrence, G, 6-1, 185, Sr. (13.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.2 apg, 31.7 min)

#3 Anthony Thomas, F, 6-7, 207, Jr. (8.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 28.8 min)

#53 Willis Hall, F, 6-6, 235, RS-Jr. (7.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 0.8 apg, 23.7 min)

#1 Adjehi Baru, F, 6-9, 225, So. (10.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 31.9 min)

PROJECTED CHATTANOOGA STARTERS

#11 Ronrico White, G, 6-3, 170, So. (10.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 apg, 26.8 min)

#12 Gee McGhee, G, 6-5, 200, Fr. (11.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 29.4 min)

#3 Lance Stokes, F, 6-6, 217, So. (3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.7 apg, 15.0 min)

#30 Z. Mason, F, 6-5, 238, Jr. (14.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.8 apg, 26.6 min)

#20 Drazen Zlovaric, F, 6-9, 220, Sr. (8.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.5 apg, 24.7 min)

SERIES HISTORY

The Cougars hold a six-game advantage in the all-time series with Chattanooga, 17-11. They have won five out of the last six meetings with the Mocs, but fell 91-88 in their last road trip to UTC on Jan. 17, 2011, under former head coach Bobby Cremins.

LAST EIGHT GAMES IN THE SERIES

W, 86-59 at Charleston, S.C. on 1/12/13 (+27)

W, 87-85 (2OT) at Charleston, S.C. on 12/3/11 (+2)

L, 88-91 at Chattanooga, Tenn. on 1/17/11 (-3)

W, 96-69 at Charlotte, N.C.^ on 3/6/10 (+27)

W, 86-74 at Charleston, S.C. on 2/4/10 (+12)

W, 90-66 at Chattanooga, Tenn. on 1/16/10 (+24)

L, 69-80 at Chattanooga, Tenn.^ on 3/9/09 (-11)

W, 86-77 at Chattanooga, Tenn. on 2/23/09 (+9)

^SoCon Tournament

BENCH PRODUCTION

With junior big man Trent Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) fully back into the lineup after two missing nine games of the season with two different ankle injuries and the development of team's reserves, CofC's current five-game run through league play can be credited to their different options off the bench - creating a balanced scoring attack. If the guards are having an off night, the posts have been on and vice versa. Three or more players have reached double figures in each of their last five contests versus The Citadel, Wofford, Appalachian State, UNCG and Samford. Instead of a seven-player rotation, the Cougars are benefiting from an eight-to-nine player rotation as Wiedeman is averaging 7.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game off the bench and junior forward/guard Nori Johnson (Greer, S.C.), who sparked CofC's second-half run at Samford, 4.5 ppg and 1.9 rpg.

Opponent      Overall Points                    Bench Points (% of Overall Team Scoring)

The Citadel    69                                18 (26%)

Wofford          79                                46 (58%)

ASU                 72                                15 (21%)

UNCG             81                                27 (33%)

Samford          69                                11 (16%)

"We are trying to develop our bench and get everyone to contribute with meaningful minutes. Nori Johnson had seven points and did a great job for us defensively at Samford. He played a really important role and made key plays for us down the stretch. I welcome that and the more he can do that, the more I can rest Anthony Stitt or Andrew Lawrence." - CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik

COUGAR SIDEBARS

Coach Wojcik is 1-0 lifetime against Chattanooga in his eight years as a Division I head coach. He has compiled a 9-4 record versus Southern Conference opponents with wins over Elon, Furman, Chattanooga, The Citadel (twice), Wofford, Appalachian State, UNCG and Samford this season.

Chattanooga sophomore guard Ronrico White is the younger brother of Tony White, Jr., who starred for the Cougars from 2006-10. The older White still ranks ninth all-time in career scoring in the CofC record books with 1,499 points (sixth all-time in CofC Division I history). Both attended high school at Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tenn., and are the sons of Tony White, Sr., who played collegiately at Tennessee from 1983-87 and was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 10th pick in the second round of the 1987 NBA Draft.

Saturday's contest will mark only the eighth time, since both schools joined the Southern Conference, to play a home-and-home series during the regular season. As North and South Division foes, they previously met twice in 1998-99, 1999-00, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2009-10. CofC has only swept the regular-season series on three occasions: 1998-99, 2006-07 and 2009-10.

SAMFORD RECAP

CofC 69, Samford 65

For the 20th time this season, CofC used the starting lineup of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, redshirt junior Willis Hall and sophomore forward Adjehi Baru (16-4).

With the win, the Cougars now lead 13-1 in the all-times with Samford in the final regular-season meeting between the two schools as CofC moves to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) next season. CofC also remains an unbeaten 3-0 when playing on the road at Samford.

CofC improves its road record to 8-2 on the season which remains the best in the SoCon and among the most road victories in the country.

Adjehi Baru registered his seventh career double-double and sixth of the season with a team-high 15 rebounds and 10 rebounds against Samford.

Anthony Thomas turned in his 10th double-figure scoring game of the season with 12 points, seven rebounds and a career-high tying four assists versus the Bulldogs.

Andrew Lawrence reached double figures for the third-straight contest with 10 points to tabulate 1,075 career points to date.

Anthony Stitt extended his double-digit scoring streak to a team-best five consecutive games with 11 points including 6-of-8 from the free throw line in the final stretch of the contest.

The Cougars shot a season-low tying 13.3 percent (2-of-15) from beyond the arc which tied its percentage against No. 5-ranked Louisville on Dec. 4.

CofC handled the basketball well for the fifth-straight contest as it made its second-fewest turnovers of the season with 10 against Samford.

For the 20th time this year, the Cougars won the battle of the boards, 34-20 (+14).

COUGAR SOUND BITES

"We really played a great game the first time around against Chattanooga. It's really hard to get too critical of our first game against them. We really defended, rebounded the ball terrifically, and at the time, Chattanooga was the No. 1 rebounding team in the conference. We took care of the basketball and shot well. It was a very complete game for us. The interesting thing is, no two games are alike. I guarantee you Coach (John) Shulman has those guys ready to play after a big win last night against The Citadel. It's also on the road and we have to be ready for a hard-fought game on Saturday night." - CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik on the team's last meeting with Chattanooga and how difficult it will be to play the same type of game on Saturday night on their home floor

"They (Samford) played us pretty tight and had a five-point lead going into halftime. I knew we had to do whatever we had to do to come out with the victory. We came together and fought pretty hard. I'm glad we came out with the road win. As far as Chattanooga goes, we had a pretty good win in our first meeting of the year. But, they won't come out the same way they did the last time we faced them. They will come out and hit us pretty quick and early. We have to be able to react and match that intensity they will bring out on their home court on Saturday night." - Junior Forward/Guard Nori Johnson on contributing off the bench in the Samford road win and going up against Chattanooga on Saturday night

"Playing good defense and rebounding has helped us offensively in our last couple of games. We also have been playing our own game and stuck to our principles. It's the reason for our current win streak. But, we still have to get better defensively and defending ball screens is the biggest part, something we didn't do well against Samford. We just have to go into the Chattanooga game with the same mindset on Saturday - try to play defense and make sure we outrebound our opponent." - Junior Small Forward Anthony Thomas on the team's current win streak and how to keep it going


Charleston Men's Basketball


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