Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Cougars' Season is Over: Looking Back & Looking Forward

With postseason basketball underway and the Charleston Cougars electing not to participate, we can officially put the 2015-16 season in the books. Injuries to key players will be what most will remember, but down the road we should be looking at Earl Grant's second season as the point where he really put his stamp on the program.

But we have to start with the big news from Monday: Canyon Barry is graduating this year and taking his final year of eligibility to another school. I wish Canyon all the best. He walked into a crap situation (recruited by Cremins and instead played the first half of his career under Wojcik), but represented the school extremely well both on and off the court. He really blossomed this year before the injury and absolutely deserves to explore his options on a different stage. Dreams of Canyon ending his rocky collegiate career with a cutting of the nets in North Charleston will need to be amended, but the outlook is not so grim. For Rick's youngest son, I know he is appreciative of the city and community that helped him develop into the long-haired, surfing, slacklining, renaissance genius that he has become. Don't forget about us son! 

Coming into 2015-16, even the most bullish Charleston fans were hoping for moderate improvement in Grant's first full year. A small boost in scoring from the Chealey/Barry-led Cougars, a record around .500 and some signs of potential from CEG's first recruiting class were all that we really asked. Injuries robbed us of seeing what the team could do at full strength, but the guys left still met or exceeded nearly every goal. 

The Cougars were the Walking Dead for much of conference play, employing just seven scholarship players and one upperclassman on multiple occasions. They still finished above .500 on the season and were probably 10-12 total points away from really making noise. They decimated Ben Simmons and LSU when that was still unexpected, nearly defeated Davidson on the road, performed a 23-point comeback to beat Northeastern, got a bad break from the refs to miss a CAA bye and lost to an NCAA Tournament-bound UNCW on a miraculous play in the conference playoffs. 

The Cougs did show their youth at times. There was a lot of foul trouble, a couple of bad scoring droughts and some turnover issues. In several games the Cougars were in dire need of the scoring punches offered by Barry, Chealey and Riller, but the experience of competing wire to wire for most of the underclassmen will pay off in the long run. 

Anyone would take another year from the CAA's leading scorer, but next season is still set up to be a good one for CofC fans. With senior departures from the league's top teams, I would put CofC only behind Wilmington and William & Mary heading into next year. Towson, Elon and Delaware will be better but I don't see them being contenders.

Returning for Charleston are four CAA award recipients who played over 28 minutes per game. They also get back starting point guard and coach-in-training Joe Chealey. We'll also have our first look at scorer Grant Riller, who will begin his freshman year next season after missing all of this year with and injury. Prized recruit Chevez Goodwin also makes his way to the Holy City this summer. With Canyon out of the mix, I would also expect Coach Grant to really double down on a small forward recruit or a big conference transfer. There will be some new faces next year. 

If the team can stay healthy, there's going to be some really good competition for playing time. That will pay dividends if coach can turn it into serious roster depth. Take a look at a projected starter and backup at each position. 

PG: Joe Chealey, Marquise Pointer
SG: Cam Johnson, Grant Riller
SF: Payton Hulsey, Evan Bailey
PF: Jarrell Brantley, Chevez Goodwin
C: Nick Harris, Terrance O'Donohue

The man stirring the pot is the one most responsible for The College doubling last season's win total. Earl Grant was not the most popular name when he was selected to take over the program two summers ago, but his coaching strengths were made clear this year. 

He's installed the defensive principles he learned under Gregg Marshall at Wichita State and Brad Brownell at Clemson to turn CofC into one of the toughest teams in the country to score on. He's also shooting 100% on recruits so far. With just a few weeks to pitch high school seniors before the season began in 2014, Grant picked up Marquise Pointer and Jarrell Brantley. Both were CAA All-Rookie selections; the latter picked up Rookie of the Year honors. We'll get a look at Riller (whose offensive skillset has had players gushing all season) when he gets going next year. From everything put out about Goodwin, it sounds like Grant stole a promising big man from the big schools. 

Just as important, each of the young guns has come across as nothing but personable, mature and hard-working from my interactions with them. Earl's exuberance, grit and focus permeates this team and that's a major reason why the school inked him for an extension. College of Charleston is going to be real solid for the next couple of years, and the work they did this season has laid the foundation. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

UNCW Edges Charleston in CAA Quarterfinals

Final Score:
UNCW 66, College of Charleston 64 
Cam Johnson 21 pts (3-4 3pt, 4-4 FT), 3 rebs, 1 ast

The Cougars had been due for a hot shooting night for some time. In Round 1 of the CAA Tournament we saw Kory Holden go off, and in the past few weeks we've seen teams like Elon survive Charleston's defense by shooting lights out. The Cougars get open looks, they just haven't had the type of conversion rate lately to complement their outstanding defense with above-average offense.

After knocking Delaware out of Baltimore to end a four-game losing skid, the Cougars may have won back exactly what they needed: confidence. In the first half against #2 UNC Wilmington, Charleston was stepping into outside shots with perfect form and follow through on their way to a blistering 7 for 9 first half three ball ratio. Better yet, the Cougars brought their usual stifling defense and cracked open a double-digit lead against the Seahawks.

Things were going as well as Charleston fans could have hoped. All-CAA selection Chris Flemmings was a non-factor, big man CJ Gettys was in foul trouble and the Hawks were ice cold from the floor. A backbreaking three at the buzzer from Johnson was the cherry on top.

You can learn a lot about an opponent based on how they respond in the first five or so minutes of the second half. In this case, UNCW showed that they were not out of this game. Up 13, the Cougars got blitzed in a barrage of three balls from Wilmington that was almost unbelievable. The Seahawks converted on SIX CONSECUTIVE outside shots to start the period. You could see the made shots fueled their energy levels, because the guys in blue also started pressing on defense and clearly rattled the Cougars. This all came about during a game-changing 22-3 run by UNCW.

Once the Cougars regained their bearings, they were able to turn this one into a one or two possession game - despite the blown lead. The teams traded baskets most of the final quarter. After a key defensive stop with just under 30 seconds to go, Earl Grant drew up the final play.

It was a beauty. The play was designed for Cam, but Wilmington had that sniffed out. Pointer took it himself, getting to the rack and wrapping a pass around to a wide open Brantley for a layup. Jarrell brought the ball down for a half second...and had it stripped. Out of bounds, Wilmington ball.

After winning in the final seconds the night before, CofC found themselves on the other side of the coin less than 24 hours later. "It just came down to one possession," Grant would say after the game, like so many Charleston contests have this season.

The Cougars' record and RPI gives them a shot at playing in one of the lesser postseason tournaments, but the NCAA's are out of the question. I really hope the guys get another chance to play because there's a clear fire inside of them to compete. They didn't fold once this season and will learn from the correctable mistakes that have decided at least a half dozen games this year. 

Usually there's a bitter taste in your mouth after a game like this, but sitting with the other CofC fans in Baltimore, the mood quickly turned positive. The first CAA Tournament loss will be a huge motivator for Grant's freshmen. With an offseason to train and improve, plus the Charleston Classic and league tournament in Chucktown next year - the future is looking very bright. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cougs Lose Fourth Straight, Miss Bye

Final Score (Thursday):
Northeastern 58, College of Charleston 57 (Jarrell Brantley 15 pts, 10 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls, 1 blk)

When I fill out my NCAA Tournament brackets each year, one metric I always put a lot of stock into when making picks is momentum. Teams that head into March riding high and playing their best ball of the season, whether that is courtesy of a victorious conference tournament, good health or luck, tend to make noise in the Big Dance.

As of March 1, the Charleston Cougars are sputtering. The four game losing streak they just completed is their longest win-less streak all season. Earl Grant has publicly disagreed that the Cougars are playing bad ball, going so far as to say that the defensive efforts have been the sharpest all season. He may have a case for that (the Cougars did have one of the most difficult closing stretches of any CAA team), but his team's inability to get over the hump and come out on top in must-win games has no cost them the all-important first round tournament bye.

The Cougars' unfortunate loss at Delaware assured that the game at Northeastern would be a must win if they were going to avoid the CAA play-in game. After taking the Huskies' opening jabs, the Cougars zeroed in and put together another defensive performance on par with the Towson and Drexel games. Northeastern struggled to put the ball in the hoop and, as the broadcasters groaned, so did the Cougars. Again, it was not necessarily a stout defense that prevented the Cougs from taking advantage of their strong defensive effort - Charleston just missed open looks. 

Against the NU zone, the Cougars were dared to make shots from outside and they responded with an astonishing 0-12 mark from the arc in the first half. Those would prove costly, because Northeastern's three first half long balls (two contested, one a four point play) were about the only offense the home team mustered.

In the second half, the offensive action mercifully picked up. Pointer and Brantley were bright spots for CofC that period, the former canning a pair of threes to open the period and the latter avoiding foul trouble to produce on the floor. Unfortunately, and this was the toughest thing to swallow about the loss, the Cougars omnipresent defense disappeared for a spell in the second half. The Huskies ran some different sets and the Cougars got lost on play after play that resulted in layups. It was such a jarring sequence that Grant probably waited too long to call a timeout because he thought the guys would find their way.

Even as the Cougars refocused, this game was back and forth down the stretch. With the ball and down one with 34 seconds to go, CofC put the rock in the hands of Cam Johnson and BGC converted a floater from his favorite spot in the paint. 

Then, with the game in their hands and needing one stop, the moment that blew up the CofC message boards happened. Evan Bailey, helping off Quincy Ford, looked like he slid over and established position before Ford trucked through him. The refs disagreed and awarded NU two free throws. That play was the difference between playing 3 games in 3 days or the yet-to-be-done 4 games in 4 days. 

Final Score (Saturday): 
Hofstra 72, College of Charleston 63  (Marquise Pointer 19 pts, 4-10 3pt, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls)

Still, there was a slight chance for Charleston to salvage a bye. All they had to do was defeat first place Hofstra on senior night and hope Northeastern lost to last place Drexel. Easy right?

Fortunately, the scoring in this game was much more closely aligned to that of a typical mid-major college basketball game. Led by CAA Player of the Year candidates Juan'ya Green and Rokas Gustys, Hofstra was getting buckets early. Charleston, to the credit, shook off that dreadful shooting from 48 hours prior and got enough shots to fall to stay close and even take a small lead about midway through the first half.

The Pride have one of the shortest rotations in the league, but the guys they do have all play a specific role. As Green and Gustys played toward their own double-doubles, guys like Denton Koon and Brian Bernardi complimented them with timely shots.

The Cougars were facing an uphill battle most of the game (O'Donohue did not play despite being listed as probable) and did not have enough in the tank to pull the upset. With CAA seeding to play for (Hofstra would win the tiebreaker with UNCW if they beat CofC), the Pride were not going to drop their final home game. 

Meanwhile, Northeastern used a 15-0 run to edge Drexel and secure the final bye spot. Now the Cougars will have to do what no CAA team has done to win a championship - score a W in four straight games.

The records reset in March, but this young Charleston team needs to quickly find a way to put the past few results behind them. Defense does win championships after all, but the Cougars will need some hot shooting to pull out victories. It all starts on Friday night against Delaware. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hitting the Wall

Final Score (Thursday):
Delaware 62, College of Charleston 59 (Jarrell Brantley 16 pts, 9 rebs, 1 blk)
Final Score (Saturday): 
UNCW 59, College of Charleston 55 (OT) (Payton Hulsey 12 pts, 11 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl, 45 mins)

In hindsight we probably should have seen this coming. Freshmen hit walls, new players can hit walls, guys playing 35+ minutes a game can hit walls. It should come as no surprise then that a team consisting solely of players fitting these descriptions would have trouble finishing games this late in the season.

This team deserves applause from CofC fans for the effort and heart they play with every game; but the adversity they are facing is really starting to take its toll. Remember that the team's current leading scorer was projected to be their sixth man this past preseason. The next two most important contributors are freshmen playing about 30 minutes more per game than anticipated. The starting lineup is rounded out by a utility player who was going to come off the bench and another freshman. There are exactly two relief bench contributors available - one coming off injury and the other a recent victim of it. 

Throughout all of this they have remained committed to a system that has proven successful, had each others backs and imposed a style of play on every opponent that gives them the best chance of winning with their limited resources. This past weekend, it was clear that the Cougars were victims of their circumstances.

Needing to at least split a pair of games at last place Delaware and at home against first place Wilmington, Charleston got tripped up and then immediately kicked while they were down. 

Delaware has played better at home this season, and with the return of Skye Johnson (back from a skull fracture) and Davon Usher (visiting in between NBA D League games), the Blue Hens could smell blood in the water with visiting CofC. They quickly jumped on a team that was clearly overlooking them and shot nearly lights out in the 1st half. Meanwhile, CofC struggled to put the ball in the hoop - taking inefficient shots against the UD zone.

Earl Grant's team put up a fight in the second period, especially as Delaware did just about everything to hand the game over to their opponent. Unfortunately, even with extra chances off turnovers, missed free throws, shot clock violations and the like, Charleston could not buy a bucket on the other end. Not their night, not their game, not enough firepower - call it what you like. Down a bucket with seconds to go, no Cougar was willing to take the open shot and the game appeared lost. Yet, just to twist the knife in between the CofC fans' ribs, one final half court game-tying three by Marquise Pointer bounced off the backboard square and off the front of the rim.

That loss was crushing. It made the senior night game against league-leading Wilmington (coming off the snapping of their 11 game win streak) essentially a must-win for tournament bye purposes. 

Early on it looked like CofC was setting the tone. The Cougars held Wilmington without a point for their first handful of possessions, while they themselves moved the ball and put up 6 quick points. Coming out of the first media timeout - boom, boom - Seahawks make two contested jumpers and the shutout Charleston had worked so hard for was erased in seconds.

Wilmington is known for their offense. With CofC doing everything to take that away, the Seahwaks ramped up that Pitino-inspired defense. Wilmington would force 19 turnovers and allow the following field goal percentages from Charleston's starters:
  • Hulsey 2-13 (15.3%)
  • Johnson 2-6 (33%)
  • Pointer 5-15 (33%)
  • Brantley 4-13 (30.7%)
  • Harris 1-3 (33%)
It's tough to survive one or two shooting performances like that, let alone five. Making matters worse, Cam Johnson was in early foul trouble and Evan Bailey was concussed in the second half. So now the Cougars are down to just one shooter (Pointer) and one inside threat (Brantley). That means double and triple teams on both those guys from Wilmington, as they encouraged the rest of the home team to score.

To their credit, those seldom-used role players did everything they could to produce just enough points to stay competitive with Wilmington. Hulsey (a 50% free throw shooter averaging under 5 points per game) drove at the basket again and again and converted his first 8 shots from the line en route to a career-high 12 points. James Bourne played one of his best games on senior night and made some big shots and passes late in the contest.

But remember that knife? It was unsheathed one more time in the waning seconds. First James Bourne went 0-2 from the line. Then, with the game still tied and under 30 seconds to play, Hulsey missed two crucial free throws. The Seahawks would miss their game winning attempt and the game went to overtime.

In OT, the Seahawks rolled out their freshest bodies. The Cougars rolled out the only five players they had left. Wilmington would score 10 points in the extra period, while CofC looked like they could barely stand and turned the ball over again and again.

So now here is where we stand. Both Charleston and Northeastern are facing a must-win game on Thursday as they play each other in Boston. Win, and the Cougars will be one game up with one game to go and the tiebreaking 2-0 advantage against NU. Lose, and the Cougars would need some help to avoid the CAA play-in game.

If there's one thing the Cougars can take solace in as they face a make or break point in their season, it's this: they've hit a wall, not a black hole. They have faced smaller walls already this year and have won the hearts of Charleston fans for their ability to scale or break through such obstacles. Come Baltimore, there will be no team more accustomed to close, grind it out, defense-first contests than the Cougars. There is no gut punch a team can deliver that Charleston hasn't sustained already. If they bottle up everything that has gotten them to this point for one game in Boston, and three more in Baltimore, they'll leave that wall far behind them.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Charleston Stays in Driver's Seat for Bye with JMU/Elon Split

Final Score (Thursday):
JMU 56, College of Charleston 52 (Ron Curry 16 pts, 3-5 3 pt, 4 rebs)
Final Score (Saturday): 
College of Charleston 66, Elon 62 (Jarrell Brantley 20 pts, 8-13 FG, 9 rebs)

It may be hard to believe, but March is just around the corner. As such, the Cougars are positioning themselves for the Madness of the CAA Tournament by jockeying for a top 6 position that will grant them a first-round bye in Baltimore. In the quagmire that is #CAAHoops, CofC could easily rise up to third place. Conversely, Elon and a now-healthy Northeastern are the biggest threats to stealing that extra day of rest and prep.

First up on the Valentine's Day weekend swing was James Madison. You may remember that CofC handed them an L in their home arena on the first day of league play. Jarrell Brantley was the star of that game, having his way on offense for a season-high 29 points.

On Thursday, the Dukes were looking for revenge and both teams carried the grizzled facade of two defensive-oriented units with nearly a full season's worth of experience since the last meeting. It was another slugfest at TD Arena, and the home team struggled early. Brantley was not getting the same looks as he was in December, and Charleston's usual defensive and rebounding principles were not at their sharpest. 

It wasn't until an enraged timeout by Coach Grant (after the Cougs allowed five consecutive offensive rebounds) that the Cougars locked in and were able to string together some possessions. The big news out of this game was that in the second half, CAA POY contender Ron Curry tweaked his knee while cutting and had to retreat to the locker room. 

JMU, to their credit, did not miss a beat. In a game that seesawed back and forth with each basket, the Dukes made plays when the Cougars could not. The recurring free throw problems came back to bite Charleston, as Cam and Jarrell both missed on the front end of one-and-ones in a single basket game down the stretch. With one last stop needed, the Cougars allowed a three pointer by Joey McLean that was the dagger.

Still, with the right teams losing on Thursday, CofC could recover by winning at Elon on Saturday night. The Phoenix could take a big step by beating the Cougars in their home arena, sweeping the series and vaulting up the standings. The Cougars have struggled this season with Saturday games, especially on the road.

After another slow start for the Cougars (Elon blitzed out of the gates shooting 5-6 from the floor), Grant's team settled in and put the clamps down on the Phoenix offense. Converting the pace and flow of this contest into one that better fit their style, CofC was not allowing Elon's guard-oriented play to hit outside shots. Charleston held Elon's top three scorers to single digits for the night as they casually ran up a double-digit lead in the second half.

They would need every point however, as freshman Steven Santa Ana (who broke his hand the last time these teams played) took it as his civic duty to make this a game. Capitalizing on some Cougar turnovers, Santa Ana went on a personal 8-0 run to make this one close. Fortunately this time, the Cougars were able to make their free throws (Elon also had some unfortunate luck with missed layups and questionable fouls) and secure a big CofC road win.

After the game, Earl Grant admitted to reporters that he went against his standard practice to make it clear to the guys that a bye in Baltimore is essential. Grant, who rarely mentions the W-L record in practice and film session (#theprocess), reiterated to his team that no team that has played on Friday has won the CAA Tournament title, and the Cougars would be feeling the hot breath of the Huskies on the back of their necks for the final two weeks.

Heading into the next session - Delaware on Thursday (I will be there in person) and the final home game of the year on Saturday against the league-leading UNCW Seahawks - the CAA standings are as such:

Delaware and Drexel are essentially locked in to the bottom two seeds. Elon hurt themselves with the CofC home loss. Charleston ends the year with the toughest schedule of any CAA team (@UD, UNCW, @NU, @Hofstra). Northeastern's is slightly easier (@JMU, @Hofstra, CofC, @Drexel).

Aside from Cougar fans rooting for the Dukes and Pride next week, first thing's first - beat Delaware in Newark. Everyone knows the Blue Hens are not as bad as their record indicates. CofC has to take care of business and get this final stretch started on the right note.

Monday, February 8, 2016

CofC Thumps Towson & Drexel in Convincing Homecoming Victories

Final Score (Thursday):
College of Charleston 65, Towson 47 (Jarrell Brantley 16 pts, 11 rebs, 1 ast, 2 stls)
Final Score (Saturday): 
College of Charleston 60, Drexel 38 (Cam Johnson 16 pts, 5 rebs, 2 asts, 4 stls, 39 mins)

Playing in their final home-and-home series this season, the College of Charleston men put together their two most dominant league performances over Homecoming weekend. The 18 and 22 point margins of victory were the largest for the Cougars in CAA play this season, as the league's top defense took it to yet another level. 

As has been the case most weeks, we had one more injured scholarship player announced. Terrance O'Donohue - who was a big part of that 40-37 slugfest in Baltimore - would not be participating in the rematch as he nurses a shoulder injury. He is projected to return in late February. 

An announcement like that can no longer faze these guys. 

As Andrew Miller put it, Towson's offense is...limited. They don't really have shooters, so they're gameplan is to out-tough and out-hustle their opponent for every second-chance rebound and free throw opportunity. Like the first time these teams met, the results can often get a bit shady - especially with TV Teddy Valentine in the building. Yet once again, the young Cougars refused to be bullied.

What made that demeanor impressive was that it was freshmen Marquise Pointer and Jarrell Brantley who led the charge. The former, reigning CAA Rookie of the Week, led the team with 19 points while the latter turned in a double-double. CofC was having a much easier day offensively, hitting early and often from three (8-17 on the night). The Cougars jumped out to an early lead and rarely let the Tigers get within two or three possessions the rest of the way en route to a wire to wire win. Once again, Towson's William Adala Moto had a difficult time contributing - 4 points, 6 rebounds, 6 turnovers and one made field goal. 

The marquee event this weekend was the Saturday matinee rematch vs Drexel. The Dragons, who have not won a game since picking up their sole conference victory over the Cougars in Philadelphia, would not have the same fortune in Chucktown.

You've probably seen Drexel's numbers by now - 10 first half points, 1 made field goal in the first half, no player with double-digit scoring, 4 assists to 23 turnovers, 23% shooting for the game including 2 of 12 shooting from deep. The Cougars aggressively doubled Rodney Williams in the paint (the big man who forced Harris and Brantley to sit significant minutes with foul trouble in Philly) and closed off nearly every passing lane whether they were in man or zone. 

It really was a perfect (depending on who you root for) storm - a team struggling on offense facing off against a defense playing at it's best. If you watched the Super Bowl last night, you know which team will be the one imposing its will in those cases. 

Offensively for the Cougars, it was another by-committee effort. Nick Harris had a second-straight solid performance, flirting with a double-double with a team-leading 9 boards. Evan Bailey kept up his hot shooting off the bench and Cam once again very efficiently flirted with a career-high points total. Even Harrison Bowne, who came in to spell the big men for 3 minutes in the first half, got on the board with a free throw. 

The Cougars needed to win these two games in order to stay in the upper half of the standings - especially should some fortuitous losing by the top teams take place over the final handful of games. The fact that CofC put their foot on the necks of both opponents and did not let up is another strong indicator of the surprising maturity of this young team. 

Next up is a rematch with JMU followed by a big game at Elon. The Dukes have vaunted themselves into that three team tie for 3rd in the CAA ever since their league-opening home loss to the Cougars. You have to anticipate they'll want revenge, and their depth will create problems even in TD Arena. Elon is coming off a tough home loss to Towson, and is one of those teams (along with Northeastern) who could push CofC into the CAA Tournament play-in game with a late season run. 

There's just three more pairs of CAA games this year. Charleston is playing their best, is it enough to peak at the right time and separate themselves from the pack? 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Homecoming '16: Cougars to Grapple with Tigers, Dragons

Ah...Homecoming. Easily a Top-10 excuse for CofC students to get intoxicated at a school-sanctioned event. Right up there with A Charleston Affair, graduation, the season-opening Block Party, Cougarpalooza and the esteemed Bully Pulpit series. As much as I'd love to venture down to Chucktown to partake in the festivities, those Southwest Airlines dollars are reserved for ACA and the 2017 CAA Tournament.

While students and alums take advantage of the newly booze-filled TD Arena, the action on the court may very well lack some aesthetically-pleasing polish. Towson (16-7, 7-3) and Drexel (3-18, 1-9) are two of the beefiest, toughest, stingiest teams in the league - as CofC fans will remember from this year's road games against both squads.

Towson and Charleston set basketball back several generations with the regionally-televised 40-37 (that's FINAL score) victory for the Cougars. That game featured more personal fouls than made field goals and just one player in double figures (Big Game Cam). Drexel picked up their only conference victory and one third of their season total by grinding out a win over the offensively-challenged Cougars last month.

In order to seize another home-and-home opportunity and go 2-0 this week, the Cougars will need to bring their usual defensive intensity alongside the offense we have seen in spurts. During that epic 20-point comeback last week and the beginning of the UNCW game, the Cougars were converting stops and steals into points on the other end. Right now defense is fueling offense and CofC needs to milk every last drop of gas to keep the points-per-possession humming. They'll have a rowdy crowd encouraging them the whole time.