By Jon Cooper
The third annual Charleston Classic had a little bit of everything—drama, awesome displays of power, amazing shooting, tenacious defense, and a lot of tremendous, competitive basketball. In the end, it turned out to be a battle of the big dogs, with the BIG EAST’s Georgetown knocking off the ACC’s North Carolina State in the championship game. Here's a team-by-team rundown of the 2010 Charleston Classic.
Charlotte’s cold shooting in the first half and George Mason’s hot shooting in the second resulted in a 78-56 loss. The Niners only trailed 30-24 at the half despite shooting below 30 percent (20 percent from three), but in the final 20, Mason shot nearly 65 percent to pull away. Guard Jamar Briscoe led the 49ers with 20 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and 8-of-10 from the line, but the rest of the team shot only 34 percent. Charlotte also hurt itself with 18 turnovers while recording only five assists. The 49ers turned the tables in their next game, shooting 47 percent from the floor (33 percent from three) dominating East Carolina, 74-63. Shamari Spears had 15 and Derrio Green added 14 with a game-high eight assists, as all five starters hit for double figures. The Niners led by two at the half and fought off the stubborn Pirates, leading by as much as 11 and hitting five of six free throws down the stretch. The Classic ended in double-overtime heartbreak, as the Niners fell to Coastal Carolina, 79-75. Charlotte shot 45.8 percent in the first half to take a 32-24 lead into halftime, and led 57-50 with four minutes left. But a regulation-ending 12-5 run sent the game into OT. In the second extra session, down two, Charlotte missed its final three shots in attempting to tie. Spears, an All-Tournament Team selection, led the way with 22 points, and Green added 19.
Coastal cut an 18-point, second-half deficit to seven before falling, 80-61, to Georgetown in its opener. Kierre Greenwood led the Chanticleers with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Desmond Holloway added 13. It was a rough opener for Chad Gray, who scored eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. The Chanticleers got in the win column in their next game against USC Upstate, as Holloway scored 18 points and Sam McLaurin blocked a game-high four shots in a 71-50 win. A 12-3 run to close the first half opened a 12-point halftime lead for Coastal, which led by as much as 14 in the second half. The lead dwindled to four with 12 minutes left, but Holloway scored seven of the next nine points in a decisive 18-2 run over the next six minutes. Coastal dominated in the paint (32-8), on second-chance points (22-11) and in points off turnovers (21-5). The Chants finished by winning a 79-75 double-overtime thriller against Charlotte. Holloway scored a career-high 25 points, and Coastal overcame a seven-point deficit in the final four minutes, sending the game to overtime on a Greenwood three with eight seconds remaining. The Chanticleers’ bench outscored Charlotte’s 22-0, led by Anthony Raffa, who scored 17, hitting seven of eight free throws, three of four in the second OT. The win was Coastal’s first in 16 games against Atlantic 10 schools, and the first in eight tries against the 49ers.
East Carolina entered their Charleston Classic debut undefeated and battled North Carolina State, but was done in by a 42-10 run that turned a game that had eight lead changes in the first seven minutes into an 85-65 defeat. ECU led 23-22 before State finished the half on a 15-6 run then broke the game open in the second half. Corvonn Gaines had a team-high 11, going 6-for-6 from the foul line for the Pirates, who were outscored 42-22 in the paint and turned the ball over 20 times. In their next game, the stubborn Pirates were led by Darrius Morrow, who scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. But Morrow was the only ECU player to score in double figures, and ECU shot only 27.3 percent in the second half as Charlotte took a 74-63 victory. A 19-8 run by the 49ers broke open a tight game, even though East Carolina got to within seven inside the final minute. The Pirates ended well, earning a 75-67 decision over USC Upstate. Jamar Abrams had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Jontae Sherrod had 17, 15 of them coming at the foul line in 17 attempts. Trailing 27-21 late in the half, ECU went on a 26-10 run and was never headed. Sherrod scored 10 of ECU’s final 12 points from the line. Darius Morales swatted away a game-high five shots.
George Mason used 13 of Luke Hancock’s career-high 18 points to fuel a second-half surge and routed Charlotte, 78-56, in their opener. Mason held the 49ers under 30 percent shooting, but let an 11-point lead evaporate to six by half. A 14-7 run to start the second half gave the Patriots a cushion, which would grow to 26 and never fall into single digits. Mike Morrison chipped in nine points and nine rebounds for GMU, which held a 48-16 edge in points in the paint and a 43-30 edge in rebounds. The shoe was on the other foot in the Pats' next game, as they hung with North Carolina State for a half, before fading in the second half, falling 78-65. Cam Long had a team-high 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting, but GMU, which wiped out a 10-point Wolfpack lead, ran out of gas, succumbing to a 19-2 run that turned a 59-57 lead with 10:33 to go into a 76-61 deficit with 3:38 to play. In their finale, George Mason appeared on their way to a 2-1 tournament record, leading Wofford by seven at the half and by two late. But the Pats surrendered a game-tying layup with 17 seconds remaining, losing in overtime, 82-79. Hancock had a team-high 17 points, while Ryan Pearson added 14 and a team-high 11 rebounds. GMU dominated the boards (52-26) and scoring in the paint (38-26).
No. 20 Georgetown used a barrage of three-pointers to bury Coastal Carolina, 80-61. Junior guard Jason Clark led the way with 22 points, shooting 5-of-7 from three. The Hoyas shot a blazing 56.1 and 46.7 from three, 53.3 from behind the arc in the first half (8-of-15). Austin Freeman and Chris Wright each nailed four three-pointers. A 10-2 second-half run gave Georgetown an 18-point bulge and allowed them to weather a late 11-0 Coastal run. Defensively, the Hoyas shut out Coastal’s leading scorer Danny Nieman, limiting him to one shot. Wright led the way in the next game, a 74-59 rout of Wofford, scoring 18 points with a game-high five assists, and senior forward Julian Vaughn collected his first career double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds). G'town made a season-high 21 free throws in 27 attempts, and dominated the boards, holding a 36-20 edge. In the championship game, the Hoyas rode the hot hand of sophomore forward Hollis Thompson, who scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed a game-high-tying nine rebounds to beat North Carolina State, 82-67. Junior center Henry Sims came off the bench and grabbed nine rebounds while dishing five assists. Wright, who was named Charleston Classic MVP, scored 17 points and handed out a game-high seven assists. A 19-2 second-half run to broke open a game that was tied at the half. Clark would join Wright on the All-Tournament team.
North Carolina State made it 19 out of 20 all-time against East Carolina, walloping the Pirates, 85-65, in their Charleston Classic opener. Freshman Lorenzo Brown had a team-high 16, and sophomore Scott Wood chipped in 13. The Wolfpack trailed 23-22 with 5:33 left in the half, before closing the half on a 15-6 run, then blowing things open by going on a 25-2 run in just over six minutes to open up a 64-33 lead. In it's next game, against George Mason, State let a 10-point lead slip away before bringing the hammer down with a 19-2 run in their 78-65 victory. State shot 55.4 and limited Mason to 39.7. Freshman Ryan Harrow came off the bench to score a team-high 14, while Wood and fellow sophomore Richard Howell each had 13. Howell also pulled down 11 rebounds. In the championship game, Howell had a team-high 14, but the young Wolfpack, which started two freshmen and two sophomores in playing without senior forward Tracy Smith, fell to Georgetown, 82-67. The game was tied at 37 at intermission, before a decisive 15-0 run gave Georgetown the lead for good. The Pack shot only 29.4 percent and made only one of 10 three-point attempts in the second half. Howell earned a spot on the All-Tournament team, averaging 11.7 points and 8.7 rebounds in the tournament.
The Spartans never got going in their Classic opener, losing to Wofford, 79-61. USC Upstate didn’t score until the 4:33 mark and trailed by 23 at intermission. Freshman Torrey Craig led the Spartans with 13, on 5-for-11 shooting. USC Upstate shot only 31.1 percent for the game. Upstate would again dig itself too big a hole in falling to Coastal Carolina, 71-50. The Spartans, who trailed 33-21 at halftime, put together a 13-3 run to get within four, but would get no closer, as Coastal countered with a 27-10 run of its own to put the game away. Craig again led Upstate in scoring, with 17, while senior Ricardo Glenn had nine points and 10 rebounds. The Spartans shot just 30.2 percent (16-for-53). In their finale, Upstate, trying to get coach Eddie Payne a win against his old team, put together a valiant effort, before falling, 75-67, to East Carolina. The Spartans out-rebounded their first opponent of the season, but for the third straight game were doomed by cold shooting, especially from three, where they missed their first 20 attempts and made only four of 25 total. Craig was the Spartans’ lone bright spot, pouring in 19 points while grabbing eight rebounds, both game-highs. Upstate led 27-21 with 5:30 to play in the first half, but were undone by a 24-8 run and never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Wofford got off to a fast start, routing neighboring USC Upstate, 79-61, behind a game-high 18 from Jamar Diggs. Noah Dahlman added 17, and Tim Johnson missed a triple double by one rebound and one assist. The Terriers scored the game’s first 12 points and took a 49-26 lead into halftime after outscoring USC Upstate 28-4 in the paint and 18-1 off turnovers. Against No. 20 Georgetown, the Terriers fell behind 9-0, and trailed 37-24 at intermission in losing to the Hoyas, 74-59. Led by Dahlman, who had a game-high 19, and guard Brad Loesing, who added 14, with four three-pointers, they pulled to within five before the Hoyas’ 9-0 run quelled the uprising. Wofford shot only 34.0 percent, 38.1 from three, and were out-rebounded 36-20. The Terriers bounced back in their finale, forcing overtime and then topping George Mason, 82-79. Cameron Rundles had a career- and game-high 26, while Diggs, who was named All-Tournament, went for a career-high 23 points, 11 in overtime. After Dahlman gave Wofford its first lead with 9:43 left, there would be three lead changes and six ties in regulation. In OT, the Terriers outscored the Pats, 17-14.
University of Maryland alum Jon Cooper is an Atlanta-based freelance writer.