Jake Cohen scored a game-high 32 points to lead Davidson to a 75-59 victory over College of Charleston in a battle of Southern Conference leaders on Thursday night at TD Arena.
The loss snapped the Cougars' (18-8, 10-4 SoCon) season-best six-game winning streak, while the Wildcats (18-7, 13-1) extended their league-best winning streak to nine games.
The Cougars overcame a 10-0 deficit to start the game with a strong first-half performance, holding a 28-27 lead with 2:24 left in the half and trailing by just two points at the break. However, Davidson pulled away in the second half thanks to 59.3 percent (16-of-27) shooting from the floor and 22 points in the paint.
College of Charleston held a rebounding edge the entire game and finished with a 36-35 margin, but the Wildcats distributed the ball well for a 15-8 disparity in assists. Davidson hit an opponent season-high tying 10 three-pointers in the contest, while the Cougars managed just four free throws on 10 attempts.
CofC put two scorers in double figures with junior forward Trent Wiedeman's (Suwanee, Ga.) sixth double-digit performance in the last nine games. He scored 10 points along with senior point guard Andrew Lawrence (London, England), who scored 10 points with three rebounds.
Sophomore big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and scored six points, while junior small forward Anthony Thomas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) had nine.
Davidson's Cohen also made four blocked shots for the Wildcats. Nik Cochran had 14 points and five assists and JP Kuhlman scored nine points.
The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead in the first half, but the Cougars stormed back with a roaring 16-7 run to make the score 17-16 after a three-pointer from junior forward/guard Nori Johnson (Greer, S.C.). A Wiedeman dunk and back door cut layup from redshirt junior forward Willis Hall (Charlotte, N.C.) tied the score at 20 apiece with 8:35 left.
After a Davidson three-pointer, the Cougars responded with a jumper from sophomore guard Anthony Stitt (Charlotte, N.C.) and a layup from Thomas to take their first lead of the game at 24-23 with 5:42 left in the first half. Thomas scored the last bucket of the half after another Wildcat three-pointer to cut the halftime deficit to just 32-30.
Both teams traded small runs at the start of the second half of play, and a three-pointer from Stitt cut the Davidson lead to two points, 47-45, with 12:33 remaining. Davidson then broke the game open with a 15-2 run over the next five minutes, including three three-pointers, to build a 62-47 lead.
College of Charleston could not climb any closer in the final minutes and eventually lost by a final score of 75-59.
The Cougars will be back at it in less than 48 hours as Georgia Southern (11-15, 5-8 SoCon) comes to town for a 4 p.m. (ET) game on Saturday, Feb. 16, as part of CofC Athletics Hall of Fame Weekend. The game will be produced by the SoCon Network and will be available only on ESPN3.com.
· For the 22nd time this season, CofC used the starting lineup of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, redshirt junior Willis Hall and sophomore forward Adjehi Baru (17-5).
· Davidson improved to 52-14 in the all-time series and swept the regular-season series between the two schools for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. It was only the Wildcats' second-ever win at TD Arena having last won on Charleston's home court in a 79-75 road victory on Dec. 29, 2008.
· Andrew Lawrence turned in a team-high tying 10 points and has now totaled 1,098 career points to date which ranks 28th all-time in school history.
· For the second-straight game, junior forward Trent Wiedeman came off the bench and contributed a team-high tying 10 points along with six rebounds in only 14 minutes of action versus the Wildcats.
· Junior reserve forward/guard Nori Johnson brought down a season-high six rebounds which was tied as the second-most by a CofC player against Davidson in the ballgame.
· Davidson drained an opponent season-high tying 10 three-pointers in the contest (10-of-24) next to 10 threes by Boston College in the ESPN Charleston Classic on Nov. 18. CofC entered the game as the No. 22-ranked team in the nation holding opponents to a 29.4 percent accuracy from beyond the arc this season.
· The Cougars outrebounded the Wildcats, 36-35, their third loss against a SoCon opponent when outboarding them this season.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On the game …
"Give Davidson credit. They played a great game tonight particularly Jake Cohen who had 32 points. He started the game with a made three. Our guys did a great job. We go down 10-0, fight back and have a chance to run into the locker room tied with the ball coming out in the second half. During critical times, we didn't make enough plays against a very good team. They played a very good team game. We had 62 shots and average 54 shots a game. We had opportunities on the break multiple times, particularly early in that second half. We just didn't convert. At the end of the day, their threes and made free throws is what they are very good at and that was the difference in the game."
What adjustments the team made to get back into the game in the first half …
"I can't take any credit for that. We played harder I thought. They play really hard. They have a lot of experience and have a lot of skill. You can't relax against them."
On playing a team like Davidson again in the SoCon Tournament …
"It's a winnable game, if we have the toughness in the critical moments. I think they have toughness in the critical moments. I give them all of the credit. They have played together for a long time and been under one same system for four years. To me, it's a tribute more to them, than saying anything negative about my team. They had toughness in very critical moments tonight."
College of Charleston Junior Forward Trent Wiedeman
On his injury in the second half …
"It's not bad. It's just a tweak and I'll be fine for Saturday. I just stepped on someone's foot. I came down and rolled it."
On Davidson's play tonight …
"They are very well-coached. They don't play out of their game and they hit big-time shots all the time. Every time we chipped away, they'd come back and hit a three. They're a very good team and Bob McKillop is a very good coach."
College of Charleston Sophomore Guard Anthony Stitt
On the game …
"I think they just out-toughed us tonight. Trent (Wiedeman) going down should have been a rallying point for us. We shouldn't have let the air go out of the building when he went down. They (Davidson) are a really veteran ball club. They knew how to make winning plays down the stretch. We got really close. We cut the lead down to two a couple of times, but we just couldn't get that stop or that rebound or that bucket to put us over the hump. They really pushed on forward from there. They hit a big three a couple of times and that's what pushed them over the edge."
Davidson Head Coach Bob McKillop
On College of Charleston …
"Valentine's Day has always been very special to us in Charleston. This is our second time down here on Valentine's Day. Doug Wojcik is a class guy and a terrific coach. This is an outstanding program and we're disappointed and saddened that they are leaving the Southern Conference. Charleston is a magnificent city, a terrific venue, great fans and they have a very, very storied program. So, we're sorry that they're leaving and we wish them much success in the CAA."