2011 DIRECTV Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant Recap
By Jon Cooper
The fourth annual DIRECTV Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant was a shooter’s paradise for some, a rather cold place at times for others. After four days and 12 games that featured double-digit comebacks, huge runs to finish games and, most of all, some incredible shooting, Northwestern of the Big Ten took home the title, fending off the Big East’s Seton Hall Pirates. Here’s a team-by-team rundown of the 2011 Charleston Classic.
Georgia Tech’s slow start to the second half proved costly in its 66-53 loss to Saint Joseph’s. Playing without leading returning scorer Glen Rice, Jr., the Yellow Jackets led by five at intermission but managed only two field goals in nearly seven minutes during a 16-5 Hawks second-half run, and trailed by double digits for most of the remainder of the game. Junior point guard Mfon Udofia had 20 on 8-for-16 shooting, and sophomore forward Kammeon Holsey added 13 and eight rebounds. Rice made his 2011-12 debut in Tech’s next game, and keyed a rally from a 13-point deficit in the 73-60 win over VCU. Rice scored 15 of his team-high 19 in the second half, hitting seven of 11 shots and scoring 11 points in a 20-4 run that turned a seven-point deficit into a nine-point lead and gave Tech the lead for good. Sophomore center Daniel Miller had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks for the Jackets, who had a 30-16 edge in points in the paint and a 33-21 edge in rebounding. In Tech’s final game, turnovers and cold shooting led to a 59-50 loss to LSU. Udofia scored a team-high 14, Rice had 11 and Holsey scored 10, reaching double figures for the third straight game, but the Jackets shot only 37.5 percent in the second half. Their 23 turnovers resulted in being outscored 20-7 in points off turnovers. Tech led with 43-41 with 7:06 left in the game, but allowed a 9-3 run, and they never regained the lead.
LSU battled but ran out of gas, losing, 88-82, to Northwestern. Freshman forward Johnny O’Bryant III had 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting with eight rebounds for the Tigers, who shot 57.7 percent in the first half and took a 41-32 lead into the locker room. After Northwestern took a nine-point lead with 5:07 left, the Tigers pulled to within one in the final minute but fell short. LSU held a 32-14 edge in points in the paint and a 25-13 bulge in second-chance points but committed 20 turnovers. In their next game, the Tigers used a big second half to beat Western Kentucky, 76-57. LSU led 40-38 after the first half, then scored the first nine points of the second half and later used a 16-0 run to cruise home. Junior center Justin Hamilton had 18 (8-for-8 from the foul line) and freshman guard Anthony Hickey added 17. The Tigers limited the Hilltoppers to 28 percent shooting in the second half (1 for 12 from three). LSU finished strong, leading most of the game then rallying late to top Georgia Tech, 59-50. Hickey scored a game-high 20 points and drained a three with 5:02 left that gave the Tigers the lead for good. He nailed 4-of-6 from three, and dished out a game-high four assists. The Tigers overcame 32.8 percent shooting by forcing 23 turnovers, leading to a 20-7 edge in points off turnovers and out-rebounded Tech, 40-34, helping them to an 18-9 edge in second-chance points. Hickey earned a place on the All-Tournament team, averaging 16 points on 51.3 shooting, 42.9 from three, with 4.3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
Northwestern rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to down LSU, 88-82, in its opener. Senior forward John Shurna poured in a career-high 37 points, 20 in the second half, when Northwestern shot 56.7 percent and forced 11 turnovers. A 10-2 run extended NU’s lead to nine with seven minutes left and the 'Cats held off LSU, who cut the lead to a point in the final minute. NU had a 20-4 edge in points off turnovers and hit 16 of 18 FTAs, with Shurna hitting 13 of 14. Junior guard/forward Drew Crawford added 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. NU got to the title game by edging Tulsa, 69-65, in a game that had nine ties and nine lead changes. Crawford scored a game-high 28, and Shurna added 15 with six rebounds. The 'Cats forced 16 turnovers and held a 27-4 edge in points off T.O.'s. Crawford had 20 points in a first half that ended tied at 37, then hit a three with five minutes remaining to cap an 8-2 run, giving Northwestern a 62-56 lead—the biggest lead by either team. In the championship game, Northwestern outlasted Seton Hall, 80-73. Crawford scored 27, on 11-of-15 shooting (4 for 8 from three), with six rebounds. Shurna added 17, while grabbing seven boards and blocking a game-high four shots. NU shot 61.5 percent in the first half and 56 percent for the game. After squandering a 12-point, second-half lead, Crawford’s jumper with 2:29 left put Northwestern ahead for good, 69-67. NU then iced the game at the line, where they shot 17 of 19. Crawford was named tournament MVP after averaging 24 points and 6 rebounds, while shooting 57.4 percent, 68.8 from three. Shurna also earned All-Tournament Team honors, averaging 23.7 points and 5 rebounds, with 7 blocks and 76.9 shooting from the foul line.
Saint Joseph’s overcame a slow start to top Georgia Tech, 66-53, in its opener. Junior guard Carl Jones had a game-high 21, and sophomore guard Langston Galloway added 15 as the Hawks used a 16-5 run to break the game open, taking a 53-41 lead inside of 7:00. Sophomore forward Halil Kanacevic grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds as St. Joe’s out-rebounded Tech, 36-32. St. Joe’s helped itself by going 18 for 18 from the line. Jones came up even bigger in St. Joe’s next game, scoring a career-high 38, but the Hawks fell, 78-70, to Seton Hall. Jones shot 12 for 17, 4 of 6 from behind the arc, and 10 of 11 from the line, and scored 22 points in the first half, helping the Hawks build a 39-32 halftime lead. But in the second half, the Hawks cooled off, hitting 1-of-8 three-point attempts, while Seton Hall shot 58.3 percent. A 14-4 Pirates run doomed St. Joe’s, which never got closer than six. Sophomore forward Ronald Roberts added 10 for the Hawks. St. Joe’s claimed third place, edging Tulsa, 79-76. Galloway had 23, 13 in the first half, and Jones added 19, 13 in the second half. The Hawks trailed by one at intermission and there were five ties and five lead changes in the second half. Roberts’ two free throws with 7:16 remaining started a 6-0 run that opened a five-point lead and the Hawks never allowed Tulsa to shoot for a tie. Jones earned All-Tournament Team honors, averaging 26 points and 3 rebounds on 60 percent shooting (24-40), 67 percent from three (8 of 12) and 95.6 percent from the line (22 of 23).
Seton Hall led wire-to-wire and used a strong second half to pull away from VCU, 69-54, in its opener. Senior forward Herb Pope scored 20 points with a game-high 13 rebounds and senior guard Jordan Theodore added 20 on 12-for-12 shooting from the line. The Pirates held the Rams to 18.8 shooting in the first half then used an 18-5 run midway through the second half to open up a 19-point lead. SHU shot 59.1 percent in the second half. Theodore came up big as the Pirates knocked off Saint Joseph’s, 78-70, to reach the championship game. The senior guard had 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds; Pope added 17 points (8 for 8 on free throws) and 10 rebounds to help Hall overcome a 39-32 halftime deficit. Seton Hall tied the game with a 9-2 run then took the lead for good on a Pope layup with 9:58 to play. Seton Hall again had a big second half, shooting 58.3 percent, 50 percent from three, and forcing 17 turnovers. In the championship game, Pope scored a career-high 32 points with nine rebounds, but Seton Hall lost, 80-73, to Northwestern. Theodore added 16 with five assists. In a game that saw eight ties and 10 lead changes, Hall used a 15-0 run to overcome a 40-30 halftime deficit, and led by two with eight minutes to play. Over the next 5:30 there would be four ties and eight lead changes before Northwestern took the lead for good at 69-67 with 2:28 remaining. Pope earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team, averaging 23 points on 55.3 percent shooting, and 10.6 rebounds.
Tulsa’s inside game was too much in its 65-49 win over Western Kentucky. Sophomore center Kodi Maduka had 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting, seven rebounds and seven blocks for the Golden Hurricane, which held a 32-14 edge in points in the paint, a 10-2 edge in second-chance points and a 49-38 edge in rebounds. Senior center/forward D.J. Magley grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for Tulsa, which frustrated Western, holding them to 26.9 percent shooting. Tulsa used an 11-0 run to open a 12-point halftime lead and led by 23 early in the second half. In the semifinal game, Tulsa outshot and out-rebounded Northwestern, but was undone by turnovers in the 69-65 loss. Sophomore guard Jordan Clarkson had 16 and senior forward Steven Idlet added 14 for the Hurricane, which held the Wildcats to 37 percent shooting and grabbed 11 more rebounds. But 16 Tulsa giveaways were turned into 27 points. TU, which had a 24-7 edge in bench points, never trailed by more than six and was within three with six minutes to play but made only two field goals the rest of the way. In its finale, Tulsa dropped a 69-65 decision to Saint Joseph’s despite 24 points and a career-high-tying six three-pointers from junior guard Scottie Haralson. The game saw nine ties and 13 lead changes. Clarkson added 19 for the Golden Hurricane, which shot 50 percent from three (9-for-18) and had a decisive edge in offensive rebounding (15-7) and second-chance points (23-5). TU led 40-39 at the half, but St. Joe’s shot 59.2 percent for the game and took the lead with 7:16 to go, then held off the Hurricane.
VCU couldn’t overcome a cold-shooting first half in its 69-54 loss to Seton Hall. Guard/forward Bradford Burgess had 11 points, while freshman guard Briante Weber added nine off the bench. The Rams shot 33.3 percent for the game and hit only six of 21 three-point attempts (28.6 percent). VCU trailed 29-22 at the half and by as much as 19 in the second half. In its next game, VCU fell apart in the second half, falling, 73-60, to Georgia Tech. The Rams led 31-23 at halftime, but surrendered 50 points in the second 20. Bradford had 17 points and five rebounds, and junior guard Troy Daniels added 13 points and four rebounds off the bench. After trailing early, VCU went on a 21-3 run to take a 23-10 lead. They forced 16 turnovers in the first half and held Tech to 29.4 percent shooting from three. But the Jackets shot 61.3 percent in the second half, while the Rams shot below 35 percent and allowed a decisive 20-4 run. VCU pulled to within seven with 5:06 to go but made one more field goal the rest of the way. The Rams took their final game, beating Western Kentucky, 69-64, in a wild game of runs. Sophomore guard Rob Brandenberg had a game-high 18 on 7-of-14 shooting, and junior guard Darius Theus added 12 points, five assists and three steals. The Rams led 37-33 at halftime, but allowed a 23-7 run and trailed by 12 with eight minutes left. They then responded with a 10-0 run and a 9-1 run over the final 1:32 to regain the lead. Burgess’ two free throws with 1:06 to go gave VCU the lead for good.
Western Kentucky couldn’t overcome a cold-shooting second half in its 65-49 loss to Tulsa. Senior guard Kahlil McDonald had a team-high 13, all in the first half, and freshman forward Nigel Snipes added 10, but the Hilltoppers shot only 26.9 percent for the game and only 23.5 percent in the second 20. Western, which trailed by 13 at the half, was outscored 32-14 in the paint, 10-2 on second-chance points, and only got to the foul line seven times. The Hilltoppers led 7-2 but never regained the lead after allowing an 11-0 run. Cold shooting hurt WKU again in its 76-57 loss to LSU. Freshman guard Kevin Kaspar had 15 on 6-for-8 shooting (3-for-5 from three) and Snipes added 13 for the Hilltoppers, who trailed 40-38 at intermission after a wild half that saw seven ties and eight lead changes. But in the second half they went cold, going scoreless for more than seven minutes, shooting 7-for-25 from the floor, and making only four of 13 attempts from the foul line. Western trailed by as much as 22 and hurt itself with 20 turnovers, which LSU turned into 27 points. In its finale, WKU lost a heartbreaker, 69-64, to VCU. Freshman guard T.J. Price had 17 in his Western debut, and Kaspar added 13. The Hilltoppers shot a season-best 46.5 percent and hit a season-high nine threes in 19 attempts (47.4). They even overcame a four-point halftime deficit to take a 56-44 lead with eight minutes remaining, before allowing a decisive 25-8 run. Free-throw shooting plagued the Hilltoppers, who made only 15 of 26 attempts.
University of Maryland alum Jon Cooper is an Atlanta-based freelance writer.