Live 5 News
Feb. 27, 2012
Live 5 News
Feb. 26, 2012
Post and Courier
February 26, 2012
Antwaine Wiggins' lob pass to a high-flying Trent Wiedeman for a monster dunk Saturday afternoon did more than bring Cougars fans to their feet and provide quality footage for the highlight reel.
It was the final play in a six-minute stretch that gave College of Charleston the margin required for a 55-47 victory over The Citadel before 4,166 at McAlister Field House. And it demonstrated exactly how the Cougars did it -- by forcing enough turnovers to fuel their fastbreak, however briefly.
"It was challenging," said Wiggins, who along with
Anthony Stitt scored 12 points. "The Citadel slowed it down, and we're used to speeding up. We couldn't really get in our groove like we wanted to."
Determined to make the game a possession-by-possession grind, as they had in winning their last two games, the Bulldogs had a 28-27 lead after a Lawrence Miller 3-pointer with 14:24 to play.
"Right where we wanted to be," said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell.
But over the next four minutes, the Cougars' press -- with the 6-7 Wiggins at the top -- forced two turnovers, and Wiedeman blocked a Mike Groselle shot. Those plays sparked a 7-0 run, on 3-pointer by Matt Sundberg and Wiedeman's layup and SportsCenter-worthy dunk, for a 34-28 lead.
The lead eventually reached 10, and the Bulldogs could get no closer than four in the final minute. The Citadel committed 17 turnovers (11 on Cougar steals), leading to 18 Charleston points.
"It was a conflict of styles," said Cougars coach Mark Byington. "Coach Driesell is doing what he has to do with his team to be successful, and they gave us all we could handle today."
Both teams have reason to feel good heading to the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville next week. The Cougars (19-11, 10-8) won't get a bye as the South Division No. 4 seed, but have won three straight and six of seven heading into a first-round game with reeling Appalachian State (12-17, 7-11) on Friday.
"I'm real confident," Wiggins said. "We've got a full roster and everybody's healthy. We played real well at the start of the season with a full roster. We're going in with a lot of depth and a lot of confidence."
Star News Online
February 25, 2012
CHARLESTON, S.C. | Mark Byington takes a visitor on a quick tour of the College of Charleston men's basketball offices on the third floor of the TD Arena in the heart of this beautiful city.
The former UNCW guard knows his way around. He's spent nine of the past 10 seasons as an assistant for one of the Southern Conference's premier programs. On Jan. 27, he became interim head coach, replacing affable silver-haired legend Bobby Cremins, who stepped down due to exhaustion.
Framed photographs cover the walls of Cremins' office - past stars from his stops at Appalachian State, Georgia Tech and Charleston, personalized autographs from basketball legends and a team photo of the 1996 U.S. Olympic "Dream Team" on which Cremins served as an assistant.
Byington, 35, once asked Cremins what responsibilities he held on a team loaded with stars - Shaq, Malone, Pippen, Barkley – and bound for a gold medal. Cremins said he officiated during practice.
Byington's task is much more difficult as he tries to lead a program with rich tradition. The Cougars have battled injuries and inconsistency but appear to have righted the ship. They've won six of nine games under Byington, defeating conference frontrunner Davidson, Kent State and rallying to outlast streaking Georgia Southern on Thursday night.
Still, there's uncertainty surrounding who will coach the Cougars next season.
"You'd be lying if you said you didn't have those thoughts about the future," Byington said before Thursday's victory. "Now what you can try to do is focus on what you can do at that moment to be best for the team. I really try not to let my mind wander to think it is an audition or it's something else."
A native of Salem, Va., Byington was a three-year starter at UNCW from 1994-98, a second-team All-CAA shooting guard as a senior who led the team to a berth in the NIT. He's spent nine of the past 10 seasons as an assistant at College of Charleston, three under Tom Herrion and the last six under Cremins, the likeable legend who led Georgia Tech to a Final Four and ACC championship.
Thursday's victory over Georgia Southern was a wild one, on a night when Cremins made his first appearance in TD Arena since he stepped down. Charleston led by 17 points with 8 minutes remaining in the first half, trailed in the final four minutes, then took the lead for good on freshman Anthony Stitt's 3-pointer.
Afterward, Georgia Southern coach Charlton Young praised Byington for how the Cougars defended his team's ball screens. The adjustment sent the Eagles to their least efficient offensive outing in 10 games and snapped their six-game winning streak.
Antwaine Wiggins, a 1,000-point scorer, ended his home career with a victory that keeps a fourth consecutive 20-win season within reach.
"He just tries to put the right people in at the right time to get the job done," Wiggins said of Byington. "He's making the right moves at the right time."
The volatile victory over Georgia Southern mirrored the Cougars' season. They started hot, floundered in the middle. They can only hope the season ends like the strong finishing stretch that produced a five-point winning margin.
Post and Courier
February 25, 2012
A month ago, few could have predicted that College of Charleston would wrap up the regular season with Mark Byington prowling the sideline and Bobby Cremins walking the beach in Hilton Head.
Just a week ago, no one thought The Citadel would have a chance to end the season with a three-game winning streak.
Much has changed as the Cougars and Bulldogs meet at 3 p.m. today at McAlister Field House to end the regular season. If the Cougars’ 83-64 win over The Citadel on Dec. 1 seems a lifetime ago … well, in some ways, it kind of was.
Back then, the Cougars won 10 of their first 12 games, knocking off Clemson and Tennessee and almost upsetting Louisville to send expectations soaring. But they were an injury-riddled 12-8 and had lost six of eight, when on the morning of Jan. 27, word began to leak that a stressed-out Cremins would take a medical leave of absence.
That left assistant coach Byington in charge. And after a loss to Wofford in his first game, Charleston (18-11, 9-8 Southern Conference) has won six of eight under Byington, including an impressive BracketBuster victory at Kent State.
Freshman standout Anthony Stitt returned from a broken hand to hit a huge 3-pointer in Thursday’s 58-53 win over Georgia Southern.
“Mark has done a great job with them, and they’ve gotten healthier over the last few weeks,” Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said. “We’ll have to play good basketball to be able to stay with them.”
The Bulldogs (6-22, 3-14) have been able to do just that over the last two games, slowing the pace and hitting the boards hard in wins over Chattanooga and Appalachian State. Those victories snapped an 11-game skid and gave The Citadel consecutive wins for the first time in a year.
The teams’ first meeting included a compelling duel between Citadel center Mike Groselle (20 points, 19 rebounds) and Cougars forward Trent Wiedeman (22 points, 10 rebounds). But Charleston forced 21 turnovers and got 20 points from Antwaine Wiggins and 14 from Andrew Lawrence to win for the third straight time in the series.
“It’s a different Citadel team than the last time we played,” Lawrence said. “I’m excited about the game. It will give us a good test before the tournament.”
Post and Courier
February 24, 2012
The College of Charleston women’s swimming and diving team has been honored by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) for achieving Scholar All-America status for the fall 2011 semester.
The Cougars’ team grade point average (GPA) was 3.425, ranking 18th in the country among all women’s swimming and diving programs.
The squad finished the semester second among all College of Charleston women’s programs and 25 of the 29 team members earned academic honors with GPAs of 3.0 or better.
The team recently completed its strongest showing at the CCSA Championships, scoring a program-record 267 points and setting 10 new school records.
Post and Courier
February 24, 2012
If there was any doubt about Anthony Stitt's importance to the College of Charleston basketball team, the 6-1 freshman erased it Thursday at TD Arena.
Playing for the first time since breaking his hand Jan. 12, Stitt hit only one field goal against Georgia Southern, but it was a big-time 3-point shot with 2 1/2 minutes left that pulled the Cougars back in front of the Eagles and helped the College of Charleston pull off a 58-53 win before a crowd 3,847.
The Cougars improved to 18-11 and 9-8 in the Southern Conference and snapped a six-game winning streak by Georgia Southern (14-13, 12-5).
"The kid has guts," said Cougars point guard Andrew Lawrence. "That was probably the biggest shot of the game, and that's what we've missed. We're glad to have him back."
Georgia Southern coach Charlton Young said Stitt made a big difference in the Cougar team that lost Jan. 21 at Georgia Southern. The Cougars were 6-6 during Stitt's absence after starting the year 12-5.
"He only hit one shot, but it was a huge one. He gives them another ball handler who can manage our pressure," said Young, who added that he felt Georgia Southern could have won by eight or 10 points if Stitt were not on the court.
The Cougars played almost perfect basketball during the opening minutes, jumping out to a 13-0 lead and holding the Eagles scoreless for the first nine minutes of the game. Charleston's biggest lead was 25-8, but Georgia Southern didn't pack it in. A 6-0 run helped the Eagles get back into the game and by the half a 17-point lead had been cut to 30-23.
The Cougars scored the opening basket of the second half and then went cold for seven minutes as GSU pulled within 34-31. Charleston managed to hold the Eagles at bay until just under four minutes remained when Jessie Pernell's 3-pointer gave GSU its first lead, 48-47. The teams swapped baskets before Stitt found himself open and pulled the trigger on the 3-pointer that put Charleston ahead, 52-51. Following a Georgia Southern miss, Trent Wiedeman made a layup that gave the Cougars a little breathing room. The Cougars managed to hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final 20 seconds and secured their fifth win in six games.
Wiedeman led Charleston with 18 points and five rebounds. Antwaine Wiggins, the team's only senior, scored 10 points, snagged five rebounds and had five assists. He also got a surprise visit from coach Bobby Cremins, who is on a medical leave of absence. Lawrence also had 10 points to go along with seven assists.
"It helped having Anthony Stitt back. He's probably hit more big shots than anybody on this team," said interim coach Mark Byington.
Wiedeman , who scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, said the Cougars started making good decisions again after Georgia Southern had rallied to make the game close.
"Once we calmed down we were fine and got the lead back," said Wiedeman, who was whistled for a technical foul in the second half. "We wanted to go out and win for Antwaine on Senior Night."
Post and Courier
February 23, 2012
The College of Charleston softball team swept a doubleheader against Charleston Southern, 3-0 and 3-1, at Patriots Point on Wednesday.
Junior Stephanie Saylors struck out a career-high 12 batters in the opener as she pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just three hits.
Hope Klicker pitched the first five innings of the second game to earn the win with five strikeouts and no earned runs.
Post and Courier
February 23, 2012
Antwaine Wiggins, the only senior on the College of Charleston men's basketball team, has had Cougar fans talking since he arrived from Greeneville, Tenn.
They talk about his shooting. They talk about his defense. They even talk about the different hair styles he has sported throughout his career.
They sometimes cringe when Wiggins launches a 3-point shot. The coaching staff has worked on his knuckleball flight, and he has improved every year.
As a freshman, Wiggins was hitting 26.7 percent from behind the 3-point line, while this season he has hit 36.3 percent. Only freshman Anthony Stitt, who has missed 12 games, has a higher percentage (38.3).
The Cougars count on Wiggins to shut down the opponent's top offensive threat. The lanky 6-8 forward cemented his reputation as one of the league's best defenders when he blocked a potential game-winning shot by Davidson's Stephen Curry, now an NBA standout, during his sophomore season.
This year, because of injuries and foul problems, Wiggins has even been called upon to play point guard.
Interim coach Mark Byington remembers all of Wiggins' accomplishments and says he is one of the most versatile players ever at the school. But one thing that stands out above all is his attitude.
"When we were recruiting him, I remember his smile," Byington said. "Antwaine has a unique ability. When you're yelling at him he's going to look back at you and smile. When you tell him a joke, he's going to look back at you and smile. He's got a great sense of humor, where everybody wants to be around him. And he's had some tremendous basketball moments," Byington said.
Wiggins, who missed the 2009-10 season because of a torn ACL, wants to continue to add to that legacy, beginning with today's 8 p.m. game against Georgia Southern at TD Arena, the final home game of his career. His goal, he said, is to help the College of Charleston win a Southern Conference Tournament Championship, something that hasn't happened since 1999.
"It's been a great experience," said Wiggins, who expects to graduate this spring with a sociology degree. "We've won a lot of big games, had a lot of great crowds. I've loved every minute and I'm going to cherish every second the rest of the way."
Wiggins said he could not single out the most memorable game. He remembered the College of Charleston's win over Davidson and Curry in 2008-09. He recalled the Cougars' win over North Carolina, in 2009-10, even though he was on the bench because of his ACL injury. As a junior, the Cougars crushed Tennessee in Knoxville, a gratifying win since he grew up just a few miles away from the Tennessee campus but was not recruited by the Volunteers. This season he scored 24 points in a second win over the Volunteers, in front of the home crowd at TD Arena.