November 14, 2008
Pesky SIUE Falls at Charleston
November 14, 2008|
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Sometimes it was a little difficult to know which team was the most nervous.
In the end, the College of Charleston opened a new facility and a new season with a 72-66 victory over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the opening round of the inaugural Charleston Classic.
For SIUE, it was the beginning of its first season playing an NCAA Division I schedule.
"I thought our guys gave us great effort on the offensive and defensive end," said SIUE Coach Lennox Forrester.
As the College of Charleston (C of C), also nicknamed the Cougars, christened the Carolina First Arena, the first game was not the kind of game that a host team sets up for itself to open a season. It took an 8-1 run over the final 3:50 of the game to put away SIUE.
The SIUE Cougars picked up a 21-point performance from freshman forward Mark Yelovich. Yelovich shot 8 of 10 from the field and tied teammate Denycko Bowles for the team lead in rebounds with six.
"He's playing with great confidence right just like several other players on this team," said Forrester of Yelovich.
Barry Welington, who led all scorers with 14 points in the first half, ended up with 19 points. SIUE guard Aamir McCleary posted seven assists.
Forrester said Wellington's leadership will be needed as the team moves forward.
"He was aggressive for us. He's a playmaker," Forrester said.
SIUE was down 34-31 at halftime and didn't give an inch to the host Cougars. SIUE's defense on the board outrebounded College of Charleston 36-35 and turned those grabs into points.
McCleary tied the game with 9:08 to play when he hit a pair of free throws. SIUE would take the lead at 7:45 on back-to-back three-pointers by Bowles, his only points of the contest. Wellington's jumper with 3:50 to play would be the last lead of the game for SIUE.
College of Charleston, which returned all five starters from last season, needed four players in double figures to hold off the Cougars. Andrew Goudelock led C of C with 17 points followed by 16 from Jermaine Johnson, 11 from Antwaine Wiggins and 10 from Jeremy Simmons.
SIUE continues at the Charleston Classic with a 10:30 a.m. CT matchup Saturday against East Tennessee State, which lost its opening round game to Temple.