GAME NOTES: A pair of 4-6 teams will do battle at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on Wednesday, as the College of Charleston Cougars meet the Old Dominion Monarchs in non-league play.
This contest is a stand alone road bout for Charleston. The Cougars are coming off a two-game homestand in which they split the two decisions. The win came against Coker (68-54) and the loss, most recently, against Marist (69-62). The setback was the third in the last five games. Up next is a matchup with Kent State back at TD Arena.
It has been nearly a month since Old Dominion last got in the win column. Since an 86-69 triumph over Georgia Southern, the Monarchs have lost five straight games. The most recent disappointment came in a 79-73 decision against Georgia State. A three-game road trip awaits following this contest, beginning against UNC Wilmington.
These teams met for the first time ever last season. In that matchup the Cougars prevailed by a 76-65 final.
Despite a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double from Willis Hall, the Cougars fell short against Marist. Charleston shot at just a 39.7 percent clip from the floor, while being doubled up in scoring from 3-point range (24-12). It was also outscored off turnovers (17-11).
The Cougars have really had trouble putting forth consistent offensive efforts. On the season they are averaging just 63.3 points per game, while connecting on 41.6 percent of their attempts from the field. Ball movement has been especially sluggish, with the team averaging just 9.5 assists per game. Canyon Barry (11.4 ppg) and Anthony Stitt (10.2 ppg) are two of three double- figure scorers. However neither is connecting on more than 37 percent of their shots. Surprisingly enough, Hall (8.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg) is not the third part of the scoring trio, though he is a reliable contributor. Adjehi Baru (10.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg) holds that distinction, while also leading the way on the glass.
Aaron Bacote paced Old Dominion with 21 points against Georgia State. However the Monarchs turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 24 points for the Panthers, in the loss. Bacote was the guiltiest party, losing possession a game-high five times.
Playing too loosely with the ball is a bad recipe for any team, especially one with such a small margin for error. The Monarchs have a slightly negative scoring differential (-0.9) this season by netting a meager 67.1 points per game. Bacote (18.9 ppg) finishes most nights at the top of the stat sheet in terms of points scored. The 6-foot-4 guard has scored in double figures in every game this season, including six 20-point showings. Dimitri Batten (12.7 ppg) and Keenan Palmore (10.4 ppg) are the next best scoring options. Richard Ross (9.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.9 bpg) can also fill it up, but is more valuable for his rebounding and defense.
The offensive inconsistencies from the Cougars make for a contest that favors the Monarchs. As long as they are able to better control the ball, their long drought should come to an end.
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