Former SoCon Rival Too Much For Cougars
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
The College of Charleston's third game on the schedule was supposed to be Richmond this past Wednesday, but a COVID 19 scare from Richmond caused the game to be scrubbed. With Furman up next for the Spiders it was only natural for CofC to fill the hoops void by scheduling a last minute game against the Paladins, a former Southern Conference and fellow in-state rival.
Furman came to Charleston with a perfect 3-0 record, and when they left the TD Arena, the Paladins added a fourth win to the 2020-21 season. Sadly for the CofC it was hardly a contest, as Furman jumped out early, building a double digit lead early en route to an 81-57 win.
Mike Bothwell did most of the damage for Furman, finishing with a game high 26 points on 10 of 14 from the floor including 6 of 8 from long range. He had help from Noah Gurley and Jelen Slawson with 16 and 18 points respectively. A Summerville native Slawson nearly recorded a triple double, hauling in a game best 10 rebounds to go along with nine assists.
CofC Head Coach explained the loss this way. "Furman is really good. You have to give them credit. I don't know if it was the wake-up call that we needed. One was an ACC team (North Carolina) and one was a NCAA Division II team (Limestone). We weren't expecting to play today. There are a lot of variables that go into it."
Coach Grant added his players didn't play at their expected level. "I think we are a lot better team than the way we played today. But, we have the utmost respect for Furman. They played today. They made 11 threes at the half. It was very uncharacteristic for us to give up that many threes in a game. They had a great performance and we weren't at the top of the game."
The Cougars controlled the tip and went up 2-0 on a follow up layup by Brevin Galloway. Furman answered right away, and often. Eight points from Gurley helped the visitors move ahead 15-8 after five minutes of play. 5 of 6 from 3-point range helped Furman build an 18 point advantage.
By the time the first 20 minutes of play came to an end, the Cougars shot just 38 percent from the field, with 2 of 9 from long range, and committed nine turnovers. The Paladins headed into the locker room up 47-23 at the break, making good on 11 of 18 from beyond the arc.
Grant said the Paladins were shooting lights out in the opening period. "They (Furman) had 11 threes in the first half. They shot it better than they've shot it before. I think it has to do with the way they were more emotionally-charged and understanding what this gamemeant than maybe my guys did. I give them credit. That was very impressive with the way they approached the game. We have to learn from it and continue to grow."
The second half was much of the same with the Cougars trading shots in the first few minutes before falling flat. While CofC was inconsistent, Furman built a comfortable 33 point (70-37) lead with 8:22 remaining on the clock.
The Cougars lead in just one category, outrebounding the Paladins 43-30. Aside from the glass, the stats favored Furman, shooting 57 percent to the Cougs 36 percent. The visitors made 16 of 34 from long distance, the home team just 5 for 23. Charleston's 15 turnovers didn't help their cause.
Zep Jasper lead the Cougars in scoring for a second straight game, finishing with 12 points, with 2 of 6 coming from beyond the arc. Redshirt freshman Dontavius King chipped in 11 points for CofC, his second straight game in double figure. King lead the Cougars with six boards. With the loss Charleston fall to 1-2 overall.
King gave the Paladins their due, and said he and his fellow players have work to do. "They (Furman) are a very good team. They just played very hard and push on certain catches that we are not used to. We were supposed to play Richmond on Wednesday and we played Furman today. We just have things to work on to continue to get better."
The Cougars will next host Marshall (2-0) on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena.