Although I don't always agree with Gene Sapakoff, I must say he had me when he wrote the three most charming words in Cougar language-"Bring on Davidson"!
Cougs unleash Draper on UNC Greensboro
Charleston 81, UNC Greensboro 59
GREENSBORO, N.C. - When Dontaye Draper finally took a seat, sweet victory assured thanks to his eight 3-point baskets, he shared a sideline handshake and laugh with assistant coach Mark Byington.
Byington before the game encouraged Draper to shoot more often and the College of Charleston's speedy senior point guard adroitly complied Saturday, torching UNC Greensboro for 28 points in an 81-59 Southern Conference victory before a crowd of 1,572 at Fleming Gym.
It was easily Charleston's best performance of the season. The hot Cougars held forward Kyle Hines, the SoCon's leading scorer, to 11 points. They recovered from a sluggish start and played without injured starting guard Marcus Hammond.
Mostly, teammates fed off Draper, who tied the school record for 3-point field goals in a game set by Troy Wheless in a 2003 overtime win at Davidson.
"Coach Byington said, 'I was watching some of the games from last year and you were way more aggressive,'" said Draper, a 5-11 Baltimore native. "I said, 'Yeah, because I was playing shooting guard.' He said I could be that way playing point guard, too. He said he was getting bored watching me play this year. So I really came out of the gate trying to be aggressive. That was my focus."
Bring on Davidson.
Charleston, 17-8 overall and 10-3 in the SoCon, has won 14 of 16 games and moved within two games of idle Davidson (12-1 SoCon, 21-4 overall) atop the North Division.
Davidson plays Monday night at Charleston (7 p.m., no television).
The Cougars were down 28-25 at halftime but a three-possession sequence early in the second half turned the game around:
--Draper hit a 3 to put the Cougars ahead, 32-30.
--Center Philip McCandies, who along with fellow big guys Josh Jackson and Jermaine Johnson frustrated Hines all day, drew a charging foul - Hines' third personal - with 17:30 left.
--Draper hit another 3 to give Charleston a 35-30 edge.
"I'm the right guy at the right time because Dontaye Draper is amazing, absolutely amazing at times," head coach Bobby Cremins said. "He reminds me of our Lethal Weapon III team (at Georgia Tech) with Kenny Anderson. I never know what's going to happen next."
Draper's 15.8 scoring average coming in wasn't that far below his 18.5 average for last season. But he was never more accurate from so far away, making 8 of 10 shots from 3-point range and 10 of 14 overall.
Senior forward David Lawrence scored 13 points with nine rebounds and six assists.
"We were all hitting shots," Lawrence said. "It was just that kind of game for us."
Others filled in nicely for Hammond, a sophomore apparently out for at least the rest of the regular season after having surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Freshman Tony White Jr. started at guard and scored 11 points with five assists and four turnovers. Redshirt freshman Javon Parris, who had seen a total of 18 minutes of SoCon action this season, played 14 minutes Saturday (2 points, no assists, four turnovers).