By: Nick Vlattas – CofC Athletics Communications
CHARLESTON, SC Dec. 20, 2014 – Despite three players in double figures, the College of Charleston men’s basketball team suffered an 80-68 defeat to former Southern Conference rival Davidson on Saturday at TD Arena.
Charleston (5-6) was unable to overcome eight Davidson three-point baskets, in addition to 14 second-chance points on 14 offensive rebounds for the Wildcats (9-1).
Sophomores Canyon Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Joe Chealey (Orlando, Fla.) offered another stellar outing, with Barry leading the Cougars with 20 points for his second straight 20-plus point game, while Chealey finished a rebound short of a double-double with 19 points and nine boards. Senior big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) scored 12 in the contest.
The Cougars shot 43 percent from the floor, but were bettered by Davidson’s 45 percent, and most notably 33 percent (8-of-24) from behind the arc.
Following three early misses and a turnover, freshman Evan Bailey (Canton, Ohio) – making his first career start – restored order for the Cougars with a long-range three pointer for The College’s first points.
Bailey’s knock-down helped the Cougars overcome the slow start, but Davidson’s hot shooting and opportunistic rebounding allowed them to maintain a lead throughout.
Capitalizing on a four-minute stretch without a Cougar field goal, eventual Davidson points leader Peyton Aldridge poured in back-to-back three pointers as part of eight unanswered points, propelling the Wildcats to a double-digit lead.
Utilizing a 57-percent (18-for-32) field goal percentage in the first half, Davidson stretched its lead as far as 18 points on a Nathan Ekwu jumper with 3:25 left to play in the first half.
The Charleston defense stiffened from there, however, as the Cougars held the Wildcats scoreless for the rest of the half to chip into the Wildcat lead. By harassing Davidson into four turnovers in the final three minutes, CofC closed the period on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 41-33 at the break.
The second half started with a five minute stretch without a field goal for either side before Barry knocked down a three from the wing, which cut the Davidson lead to four points and sent the reinvigorated 3,671-person crowd into a frenzy.
Aldridge quickly answered with a three pointer of his own at the other end, however, and an ensuing 14-6 Davidson run quickly put the deficit back to double digits at the midway point of the second half.
Another Barry three-pointer cut the lead back to nine and reinstated the Cougars into the game with six minutes to play, but it was succeeded by a three-minute CofC scoreless spell, which allowed Davidson to solidify the result.
Aldridge finished the game with 22 for the Wildcats, while Jack Gibbs earned a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double.
The Cougars now face a quick one-day turnaround as they travel to SEC-opponent LSU on Monday, Dec. 22 at 9 p.m. (ET) in Baton Rouge, La. The game will be televised live nationally on the SEC Network.
- For the first time this season, the Cougars started Joe Chealey, Anthony Stitt, Canyon Barry, Evan Bailey and Adjehi Baru (0-1). It marked the first career start for Bailey in replacement of Donovan Gilmore, who did not suit up or play due to illness.
- With the win, Davidson avenged a 76-64 home loss to College of Charleston on Jan. 1, 2014 in Davidson, N.C. The Wildcats now lead 54-15 in the all-time series with the Cougars. This was the first meeting between the two programs as members of different conferences – Davidson (Atlantic 10) and CofC (Colonial) after years of being archrivals in the Southern Conference.
- Joe Chealey extended his double-digit scoring streak to a season-and career-best tying three consecutive games with 19 points against Davidson. He also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds – just short of a double-double.
- Canyon Barry recorded a team-high 20 points and is now on a three-game double-digit scoring streak. It marked his fourth 20-point game of his career and second this season.
- Adjehi Baru turned in back-to-back games in double figures with 12 points versus Davidson.
- Defensively, the Cougars held the nation’s third-best scoring offense (88.6 ppg) below their average and third-lowest margin of victory this season (+12).
- CofC made a season-high five blocked shots against the Wildcats with contributions from five different post players.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
“Give Davidson credit. They are a well-coached team. They are very well conditioned, disciplined and a mature team. I thought they were a lot more mature than us today in executing their offense. We game planned for what they would do, but it was an unbelievably hard challenge for us with the way they shoot the ball. Our five-man guarding a guy who could really shoot on the perimeter. Their game plan, discipline of sticking to it was really good. We held them to zero free throws in the first half. In the start of the second half, they really made it a point of trying to attack inside and get the ball in and get free throws. We just have to be more mature as a team. We have to continue to trust the system and continue to learn how to grind a team up. You cut it to eight and fight so hard to get back into it, you can’t have three consecutive turnovers. You have to keep executing and keep getting the ball where we want it to go. You can’t abort. I see growth, but we are still not there yet.”
On the difference in the second half of play and Davidson’s run …
“The biggest thing was, we gave up second-chance (shots). They would shoot it and they would get the rebound. A team like Davidson, if they shoot it, as hard as you have to work for 30 seconds, you don’t want to let them get the rebound and work another 30 seconds. That’s just too much. We had to work a minute and 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds. We made them work to get a shot off a lot of times. Giving second-chance opportunities is too difficult against a good team like Davidson.”
College of Charleston Sophomore Guard Canyon Barry
On the game …
“You have to give credit to Davidson. They do a very good job of running their offense, and if you slip up for one possession, it’s pretty much guaranteed points. At the end of the day, we just need to be better.”
On trying to match Davidson’s balance …
“They are all very good shooters, which ultimately is what makes them so difficult to guard. Last season, we had a game plan where we were able to suck it in to the paint a little, because their post players were not great three-point shooters. This year they add (Peyton) Aldridge, who has no problem stepping back and knocking down outside shots. It makes them a very tough, tough team.”
College of Charleston Sophomore Guard Joe Chealey
On limiting the Wildcats’ penetration …
“Getting to the basket is part of their game plan and it’s something that they are good at. Early in their offensive sets, they like to get touches deep in the paint. It helps collapse the defense and free up their outside shooters. We knew what they wanted to do tonight. We just didn’t do enough to stop them. They made more plays than we did.”
On becoming a more-disciplined team …
“Davidson was a disciplined team and that is a characteristic we’re striving for. To become a great team, you need to be disciplined and we’re working towards that which goes for me personally as well. I need to be a more-disciplined player and make sure I’m making good decisions and taking good shots. We’ll get better moving forward.”
Davidson Head Coach Bob McKillop
On the game …
I’m incredibly proud of our team and how hard we fought today. Charleston took us to the mat and never gave up. They put us on our heels (in the first half of play). We knew it would be a challenge to our toughness. It was a game of runs today. We were able to get on a run in the second half. There were so many offensively-explosive players on both benches today. When there is depth in scoring – it makes for exciting basketball.”