Over 3,200 fans showed up to support the Cougars in their earliest game ever played in the history of the program, and their enthusiasm didn’t go unnoticed by the team. This match was a time to win back the victory the Cougar’s left at Morehead State during last year’s road game against the Eagles.
With the final score at 72-57 and the clock running down, head coach Bobby Cremins had the bench on their feet clapping and showing their appreciation to the crowd.
As the nationally televised game took off, the crowd exploded as Wiggins knocked down a three to kick-start the Cougar offense. Back to back threes from Scott and Lawrence put the Cougars up 9-0 and put the crowd into a ballistic round of cheering.
After four points from the line from Morehead’s Purcell, Baru got himself in the books with his first points on the morning.
Midway through the first half the Cougars had a ten point lead when Sundberg made his first appearance of the season, issuing a warm welcome back after sitting out the 2010-2011 season.
Running up the score before the close of the half was Scott with a perfect 4-4 from behind the arc.
However the Eagles halted Charleston’s momentum with a seven point run in the final minutes of the half, chipping away at the Cougar’s adequate lead. Closing the half were the Cougar’s over Morehead, 37-25.
The Eagles continued to close the gap, getting within ten before the Cougars turned up their intensity on defense. Back to back showings from Baru got the crowd on their feet and back in the game.
Morehead matched the Cougar defense, relentlessly sticking to their man in the full court press, causing trouble for Charleston’s offense.
Charleston was gifted a break when the Eagle’s lead defender, Kelly, fouled out midway through the half, opening up the middle of the key. Scott took advantage of the gap in defense, driving the ball straight in for a flawless layup.
With a comfortable lead at 19 with 3 and a half left to play, the Cougars spread out their offense and used the clock to their advantage, despite the Eagles continuing pressure.
With the crowd on their feet and the arena rocking in the closing seconds, Dixon pulled up for a short jumper, further entertaining the vivacious crowd.
Morehead’s full court press was something seen during the entire game but Cremins acknowledged this physical energy Morehead is known to have coached into their game.
“You can see how tough they are. They are physical, their tough, their well coached. They have relentless pressure and you have to match their intensity.”
Cremins believes that the Cougar’s were not ready for the Eagle’s last year but this year was pleased with his staff in prepping the Cougar’s for such an early game against a team they lost to last year.
The earliness of the game was also something the Cougar’s prepped for with early practices. The team and coach Cremins were devoid of what time it was once the game was under way.
Wiedeman, “once the game started I think everyone was fine, it didn’t even feeling morning anymore, it just felt like a regular game.”
Jordon Scott impressed the crowd from the opening tip, setting a new career high with 22 points including 5-7 from behind the arc. Wiggins added an impressive 17 while Baru, despite his limited minutes, chipped in 8. Wiedeman pulled down 12 rebounds, leading the team for the second straight game.
Charleston’s Cougars travel to Clemson this weekend for a tough battle against the Tigers, their third game in a matter of eight days.