ASHEVILLE, N.C. – College of Charleston’s run through the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament ended on Monday night at the hands of the league’s top seed Davidson, 74-55, at the U.S. Cellular Center.
The Cougars hit 20 free throws on 25 attempts, but could not overcome 24 points from Davidson’s De’Mon Brooks. Senior point guard Andrew Lawrence (London, England) scored a team-high 19 points for the Cougars (24-10).
The win gave the Wildcats (26-7) the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while CofC finished with 24 wins in head coach Doug Wojcik’s first season.
Davidson never trailed in the game after getting out to a 7-0 start. The Cougars stayed around 10 points for most of the second half, but CofC could not get several three-pointers to fall and Davidson eventually pulled away with strong post play.
Sophomore big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) added 11 points and four rebounds. Both Lawrence and Baru were named to the All-Tournament First Team. Junior forward Trent Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) scored seven points and led the team with six boards.
Davidson’s JP Kuhlman scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while Jake Cohen had 12 points and five rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble in the second half. Nik Cochran had 10 points and four assists as the Wildcats outrebounded Charleston, 37-33.
Davidson jumped out to a 7-0 lead to start the first half, before Baru got the Cougars on the board with a layup at the 17:21 minute mark. A three-pointer from Lawrence at 14:44 made it a two-point game, 10-8, but the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run to lead 22-10 after layups from Cohen and Brooks.
The Cougars rallied with strong rebounding and several jumpers from Wiedeman and a free throw from redshirt junior forward Willis Hall (Charlotte, N.C.) cut the margin to 31-24 with 1:44 remaining in the half.
Davidson’s Chris Czerapowicz hit a jumper in the lane and Kuhlman cut to the basket for a layup at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 35-26 lead at halftime.
A fast-break layup from Lawrence and then a jumper from Baru got the Cougars within striking distance at 38-32 with 18:07 left in the game. However, CofC missed several jumpers and could not take advantage of a nearly four-minute scoring drought from the Wildcats.
Jumpers from Kuhlman and Cochran pushed Davidson’s lead back to 42-32 and the Wildcats continued to respond to every Cougar run. Charleston converted 15 second-half free throws, but could not hit a second-half three-pointer to cut into the lead.
Davidson opened the game up with several open layups in the final minutes and eventually went on to win, 74-55.
· For the 28th 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 (22-6).
· With the loss, the Cougars drop to 1-5 all-time in the finals of the Southern Conference Tournament having only won the championship title in their inaugural season in the league in 1999.
· CofC shot a season-low 29.8 percent (17-of-57) from the field and season-low 10 percent (1-of-10) from behind the three-point line against Davidson.
· Andrew Lawrence registered 19 points including an 8-for-9 performance from the charity stripe versus Davidson. He moved into 23rd all-time in career points surpassing former CofC great Mike Beckett (1,204) with 1,205 career points to date.
· Adjehi Baru scored in double figures for his second of three league postseason tournament games with 11 points.
· Lawrence and Baru were named to the SoCon All-Tournament First Team.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On the game …
“Give Davidson credit. They beat us three times and beat us pretty convincingly. I thought we had a real good chance in the first half. We didn’t really rebound the ball offensively last night (against Elon), but we did a great job tonight early. We just didn’t convert those offensive rebounds and made things tougher for ourselves and kind of dug ourselves a hole. But for the most part, great weekend for us, the kids fought valiantly. I’m really proud of them. I thought Andrew (Lawrence) was terrific tonight. Give Davidson credit. They’re a really good team and can hurt you in so many ways.”
College of Charleston Senior Point Guard Andrew Lawrence
On the loss to Davidson …
“I don’t think it had anything to do with nerves. I felt everyone was ready to play tonight. We didn’t convert today like coach (Wojcik) said on offensive rebounds. I missed a few easy shots that I needed to make. That’s really what it boils down to. I have to give them credit. They came out and played really hard today. They just played better than us and that’s all it really is.”
On the team’s shooting …
“I believe we got a lot of great shots. I missed a few and the guys missed a few, but there are no excuses from this end. We have to make shots. Give Davidson a lot of credit today. They capitalized on that and we have to transition better.”