A capacity crowd piled into TD Arena for Thursday night's match-up between the College of Charleston Cougars (6-1) and the Citadel Bulldogs (2-4). With the Cougars hosting the Bulldogs in their first legitimate home game of the season.
Early on, the Cougars were cold offensively, hoisting up airballs on their first three shots. However, with the home crowd on their side, they were able to slow things down and eventually get a rhythm going. With nearly eight minutes played in the first half, College of Charleston's redshirt junior Matt Sundberg hit his second three in two minutes to give the Cougars a 17-15 lead.
Halfway through the first, College of Charleston's sophomore big man, 6'8" Trent Wiedeman, seemed to be having a difficult time getting his shots to fall. He missed on several good looks down low, but around the 9-minute mark his big defensive rebound on one end drew a foul and a bucket on the other end would tie it at 21.
Cougar true freshman Anthony Stitt put his talents on display, driving to the hoop with a strong move to put his team up 28-25 with 5:30 to go. Less than a minute later, he followed the crafty basket with an equally impressive floater to put his team up by five, 30-25.
Despite their early struggles, the Cougars regained control, jumping out to a 34-27 lead on a powerful baseline drive by junior Andrew Lawrence which was followed up by a nice fast break effort from redshirt senior Antwaine Wiggins. While the Bulldogs hung tough through most of the first half, a last-second bucket gave the College of Charleston a 41-33 lead going into the break.
Coming out of the locker rooms, the Cougars remained in control, extending their lead to 15 with a score of 60-45 with 13 minutes on the clock. Any chance they got, the College of Charleston student section echoed out a solemn "Rooo" to honor their 6'9" freshman Adjehi Baru. Despite early troubles offensively, Wiedeman's newfound success with the jump hook gave him 20 points with 7:50 remaining. His efforts down low were very successful, and for most of the second half it seemed like he simply could not miss.
Down the stretch of the second half, turnovers by the Citadel at the hands of a tight Cougar defense put their chances of a comeback out of reach. A three ball by Wiggins with 4:25 to go gave the Cougars a 78-58 lead — one that they would not give up.
The Citadel was noticeable lax on defense in the closing minutes, giving up on a drive and reverse dunk by Cougar sophomore James Carlton. The young CofC team got off to a rocky start, but regained their composure and took care of their crosstown rival with a final score of 83-64.