POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Brandon Sebirumbi scored 15 points to lead Furman past the College of Charleston, 69-63, in Southern Conference play held Thursday night at TD Arena.
The loss moved the Cougars (12-8) and Paladins (10-10) into a tie for fourth in the South Division standings with 4-5 league marks.
Junior point guard Andrew Lawrence (London, England) scored a game-high tying 15 points and dished out six assists for the Cougars, while sophomore big man Trent Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) picked up his fifth double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and bringing down a game-high 11 boards. Senior Antwaine Wiggins (Greeneville, Tenn.) also hit double figures as he poured in 12 points.
Sebirumbi scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half, while Bryant Irwin scored 14 points including two quick three-pointers early in the second stanza that opened up a 37-25 lead for the Paladins.
CofC was able to pull within six twice before the final minute, cutting the deficit to 47-41 at the 10:39 minute mark after a three-pointer by sophomore Nori Johnson (Greer, S.C.), and again at the 6:57 minute mark on a jumper by redshirt junior Matt Sundberg (Kennesaw, Ga.), 54-48.
Despite struggling with the Cougars' defensive intensity at times, Furman answered each CofC run with a big play. When the home crowd rose to its feet after a layup from Wiggins and a great defensive possession, Furman's Charlie Reddick nailed a desperation three-pointer from the sideline as the shot clock expired to push the lead back to 60-50 with 5:37 left in regulation.
A jumper by Sundberg followed by a steal and finish from freshman Trevonté Dixon (Florence, S.C.) brought CofC back to 67-61 with 56 seconds remaining. However, each three-point attempt rimmed out for the Cougars in the final minute as Furman held on to win.
The Cougars led for the first 10 minutes of the game until a five-minute scoring drought resulted in a 9-0 Furman run as the Paladins built a 25-18 lead. A three-pointer and free throw from Dixon pulled the margin to 29-25, but Bryson Barnes hit a layup with just two seconds left to keep Furman up 31-25 at halftime.
CofC shot a season low 21-of-60 (35 percent) from the floor, while Furman made 25-of-57 shots (43.9 percent). The Paladins outrebounded the Cougars, 40-38, and Furman converted 15 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points. The Cougars did force 15 turnovers and made 17 points off turnovers, but struggled from behind the three-point arc, hitting just 4-of-23 treys.
College of Charleston will host South Division rival Wofford on Saturday at 3 p.m. at TD Arena. A College of Charleston basketball alumni game will precede the start as former Cougars return to Charleston.
The Cougars will look to bounce back against South Division rival Wofford on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. The game will be televised live on the SoCon Sports Network and carried nationally on ESPN3. A CofC Basketball Alumni game will precede the start beginning at 12:45 p.m. (ET).
• For the third time this season, CofC went with the starting five of junior Andrew Lawrence, sophomore Nori Johnson, senior Antwaine Wiggins, sophomore Trent Wiedeman and freshman Adjehi Baru (1-2).
• With the loss, it marked Furman's first win on the Cougars' home court since a 114-67 victory during the 1952-53 season under former head coach Willard Silcox. It also ended a nine-game losing skid for the Paladins in the all-time series with CofC.
• Adjehi Baru returned to the lineup after sitting out the Georgia Southern road game with a sprained ankle on Jan. 21. He registered six points and six rebounds in 27 minutes of action versus Furman.
• Andrew Lawrence led the team in scoring for the fifth time this season with a game-high tying 15 points. He also dished out six assists to record his first career 100+ assist season and now has 102 on the year.
• Trent Wiedeman recorded his ninth career double-double and fifth of the season with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
• Freshman Trevonté Dixon reset career-highs in points (6) and minutes (11) against Furman.
• The Furman defense held the Cougars to their second-fewest points in a half this season with 25 first-half points. They also held them to a season-low 35.0 field-goal percentage (21-of-60) and 17.4 three-point field goal percentage (4-of-23). CofC is now 2-6 this year when trailing its opponent at halftime.
• The Cougars have now lost three games in a row for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign under Bobby Cremins as CofC fell to the hands of Western Carolina on Feb. 16, at Elon in double overtime on Feb. 20 and at UNCG on Feb. 25. CofC still reached the semifinals of the SoCon Tournament in 2008.
• It marked the first time to be under .500 in Southern Conference play since opening 4-5 in the team's first nine games under Coach Cremins in 2007-08.
College of Charleston Head Coach Bobby Cremins
On the game ...
"First, I want to congratulate (Furman Head Coach) Jeff (Jackson) and Furman. They played a very fine basketball game. I was disappointed in the first half. We were a frustrated team and that's my responsibility. I really feel like I did not have this team ready to play in the first half. That was very disappointing to me. In the second half, we were a different team. We played with energy and made some adjustments. Our kids did a great job in the second half. We know anyone can beat anybody in this conference. I want to apologize to our fans. I take full responsibility (for the loss). One thing I can guarantee, we are going to show up on Saturday and try to do the best we can (against Wofford)."
College of Charleston Senior Forward Antwaine Wiggins
On the loss and being under .500 in Southern Conference play ...
"We are disappointed, but we just have to keep working. We have to go into practice and work harder and try to fix things. We have been struggling to hit shots. It's going to fall sooner or later. We have to figure out another way to hit shots other than depending on the three. We are a little frustrated right now. We still know we are a young team and need to keep working. The sky's the limit for this team. We lost a few games and it's not the end of the world. We are just focusing on getting better."
Furman Head Coach Jeff Jackson
On the win ...
"I thought it was a good college basketball game. We did a nice job defensively. We played with a lot of grit and understood the importance of consistently focusing on the defensive end of the floor. It was something we were a little lapsed with in our game against Wofford, so it's nice to see us make that adjustment and see our guys being rewarded for making those adjustments. It's just a win on the road. I don't think these guys were born in 1952. I know I wasn't born in 1952 and it's a stat that looks nice in the newspaper. Our main focus was just to come in, play well and prove our team."