Junior big man Trent Wiedeman (Suwanee, Ga.) came off the bench and registered his second double-double of the season with a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds as College of Charleston survived a hard-fought 71-68 win on the road at Chattanooga on Saturday night at McKenzie Arena.
The Cougars (18-7, 10-3 SoCon) won their sixth in a row and recorded their fifth consecutive 10-win campaign in Southern Conference play – the first in the Doug Wojcik Era.
It didn't come easy as the Mocs (9-15, 4-7 SoCon) looked to avenge both teams' last meeting where CofC turned in its highest-scoring output of the season in an 86-59 rout on Jan. 12 at TD Arena.
In the first eight minutes of the ballgame, it would be a see-saw battle where neither team could pull away from each other with more than a four-point lead. A layup by senior point guard Andrew Lawrence (London, England) put the Cougars up by as many as seven, 29-22, at the 6:24 minute mark, but Z. Mason would score eight of his 17 first-half points in the final stretch of the half to keep Chattanooga in striking distance.
Sophomore guard Anthony Stitt (Charlotte, N.C.) knocked down a three-pointer with eight seconds left to send the Cougars into the locker room with a 36-35 advantage.
CofC controlled the better part of the second half until its lead was chipped away again by three-pointers from Mason including a trey with 12:55 remaining to put UTC out in front, 54-53.
Five lead changes would follow and a dunk and a reverse layup by Wiedeman in the last three minutes of the contest helped secure the team's ninth road win of the season.
Chattanooga's Ronrico White, whose older brother Tony White, Jr., starred for the Cougars from 2006-10, drained a three-pointer with 1:05 left on the clock to get UTC within two, 68-66, but for the second-straight game, junior reserve guard/forward Nori Johnson (Greer, S.C.) stepped up defensively and got a steal which led to him being fouled and making two free throws to add the cushion.
Mason led all scorers with a game-and career-high 27 points, while Lawrence and Stitt each had 13 for CofC. Junior small forward Anthony Thomas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) was the fourth Cougar in double figures with 10 points.
Up next, CofC looks forward to a much-anticipated rematch with current league leader Davidson (17-7, 12-1 SoCon) on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. The game will be televised live locally on MyTV Charleston and carried nationally on ESPN3/WatchESPN.com on Valentine's Day.
· For the 21st time this season, CofC went with the starting five of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, redshirt junior Willis Hall and sophomore forward Adjehi Baru (17-4).
· With the win, the Cougars now lead 18-11 in the all-time series with Chattanooga. They claimed the regular-season series sweep for only the fourth time since both teams became members of the SoCon.
· For the fifth-straight year, CofC turned in a 10-win campaign in league competition, the first under first-year head coach Doug Wojcik.
· The Cougars won their ninth road game of the season (9-2) which is tied for the second-most road victories in the country with Albany (9-2) and Bucknell (9-3). Stony Brook is a nation-best 10-4.
· Junior forward Trent Wiedeman recorded his 15th career double-double and second of the season with a team-high 16 points and game-high 10 rebounds off the bench.
· Andrew Lawrence continues to climb the CofC all-time career scoring list as he turned in 13 points to give him 1,088 career points to date which ranks 28th in program history. He is currently on a four-game double-digit scoring streak.
· Anthony Stitt registered his sixth consecutive contest in double figures with 13 points, a career-best stretch, along with dishing out a game-high tying six assists versus the Mocs.
· CofC has now scored 70-or-more points in four of its last five contests in conference play.
· For the sixth consecutive game, the Cougars made 11-or-fewer turnovers including just nine against Chattanooga.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On pulling off the road win …
"I'm so proud of our team. It was a hard-fought, great road win, particularly, after beating them (Chattanooga) bad at home. We knew they would come back, because they have size, speed and quickness. A lot of different things happened in tonight's game and we were able to survive. Everyone who played made a contribution to our win tonight."
On defending Chattanooga's Z. Mason in the second half …
"That was fatigue on his part. We were just playing hard and rotating our guys that had to defend him. We really didn't start the game well. Drazen (Zlovaric) had a great game. They really hurt us in the post. They got 42 points from their post players and that really hurt us. We survived Willis (Hall) and Adjehi's (Baru) two fouls in the first half. But, we were able to come back in the second half and wore them out. I thought Trent Wiedeman was terrific tonight after Thursday night's game at Samford (with only four points and two rebounds)."
College of Charleston Junior Forward Trent Wiedeman
On the road win …
"It feels really good. It was a win we really needed. We wanted to go 2-0 on this road trip to set us up for Thursday's game against Davidson. It was tough in the end, but it was good that we were able to fight through it. They (Willis Hall and Adjehi Baru) got into foul trouble early, so I had to come in, but they both still had great games. I just played my game and did what I needed to do to contribute. They (Chattanooga) didn't make as many shots as they did in the first half. Z. Mason was not missing anything in the first half with 17 (points) and we had to find a way to contain him (in the second half)."