The College of Charleston men's basketball team defeated NCAA Division II USC Aiken, 68-52, in a rugged exhibition game Saturday night at TD Arena.
The game was marred by choppy play, with both teams combining for 25 fouls and 18 turnovers in the first half alone.
Senior guard Andrew Lawrence (London, England) led the way for the Cougars with 14 points and three assists on 4-of-7 shooting including 3-of-4 from three-point range. Nine other players scored for CofC with junior big man Trent Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) bringing down a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Cougars leapt out to an 18-8 lead six minutes into the game, before the Pacers went on an 8-3 run to cut the score to 21-16.
Charleston immediately responded with a pair of free-throws from sophomore Anthony Stitt (Charlotte, N.C.), a three-pointer by redshirt junior Willis Hall (Charlotte, N.C.) and a free throw by freshman Theo Johnson (Sacramento, Calif.) on three-straight possessions to push the lead to 26-16 at the 4:44 minute mark.
The Cougars ended the half with a three-pointer by freshman Canyon Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) from the side with four seconds left to lead 33-24 at halftime.
Both squads began the second half with their starters, before each coach began mixing lineups. A runner in the lane and a dunk by junior Anthony Thomas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) off a fast-break pushed the Cougars' lead to 15 with 18:16 remaining in regulation, 39-24.
A block by sophomore Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) at one end, and a slicing drive by Stitt on the other, pushed the lead to 17 points before the first media timeout.
While the game was never in doubt, CofC struggled from the foul line, hitting only 19-of-35. Ronald Zimmerman led the Pacers with 14 points.
The Cougars will officially open the 2012-13 season against Towson on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. Tickets for the season opener can be purchased by calling 1-843-953-COFC (2632) or going online at www.CofCSports.com/tickets.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On the exhibition game ...
"It was a great exhibition game for us. USC Aiken is very athletic, quick, strong and tough team. There were 46 fouls called in that game and I thought our guys handled it well. We had some goals for the game and we did a good job of defending the three-point line. We really defended the two-point shooting for them. Minus the cramps, I thought we had a lot of contributions from a lot of players. The cramps kind of threw us off with our ball handling. It was a very good team win for us."
On the biggest things the team needs to work on prior to next week's opener versus Towson ...
"We gave up 14 offensive rebounds. We have to rebound the ball better, particularly from the guard spots. I thought we handled pressure pretty well. Although in our East Carolina scrimmage, we had 18 turnovers and tonight we had 17 turnovers, so taking care of the basketball and the obvious thing was working on our free throws."
College of Charleston Senior Point Guard Andrew Lawrence
On the exhibition game and playing under a new system with Coach Wojcik ...
"It was a big step forward for us. I was impressed by the way we played defense. We really got after it tonight. But, we have to come up with more rebounds. They had 14 offensive rebounds which is a little too much for us. We are playing such good D, so we have to get those rebounds."
On the team's low free-throw shooting percentage tonight ...
"There are a lot of new guys, who went to the line tonight - a few freshmen shooting out there. I missed one, but I'm definitely not a freshman, and I have to knock them down. We will get it together by the time the season comes around next week. We will do better."