Burnham Hits for 19 Pts., Cougars Find Themselves 1-3 Early in the Season
Jeff Walker, Sports
24 hours after a disappointing loss (73-64) to Vermont, where the College of Charleston men's basketball team surrendered a double digit lead in the second half, the Cougars went up against the Cowboys of Wyoming in round two of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. CofC were hoping to put an end to a two game skid while Wyoming had their mind set on recovering after their first loss of the season.
When all the dust settled on the hardwood at the HTC Center (home of Coastal Carolina) Charleston lost the last four minute battle dropping a 67-60 decision to Wyoming. After going 31-4 last year, Charleston pick up their third straight loss in just four games in the 2023-24 season.
Despite giving up 23 offensive rebounds and allowing for 22 turnovers, the Cowboys shot better than 53 percent from the field and made the clutch shots when needed down the stretch to emerge victorious. Aside from winning the war on the glass and takeaways the final field goal percentage did the Cougars in. Charleston went 23 of 73 for 32%. A team that lives and dies by the 3-point shot, made just 7 of 37 from long range as CofC advance to the seventh place contest on Sunday afternoon.
Sam Griffin lead the Cowboys with a game best 24 points, finishing 7 of 10 from the floor including 3 of 3 from beyond the arc. Akuel Kot and Caden Powell chipped in 10 points apiece with Powell grabbing seven rebounds. Wyoming improve to 3-1 early in the season and play in the fifth place game on Sunday morning.
Although he had 15 first half points, Ben Burnham ended the contest with just 19 to lead the Cougars. He was the lone offensive bright spot for the starting team. Benny Buckets went 7 of 19 overall and 3 of 10 from long range. The Cougars got 31 points off the bench with Ante Brzovic and Bryce Butler adding 12 and 8 respectively.
Charleston jumped out to any early 6-0 lead, their biggest of the game, however the first 20 minutes of the contest saw both teams trading baskets with neither up by more than one possession. Wyoming slowly woke up. When Kot drained a triple it capped off a 9-0 run by the Cowboys.
Offensively both teams were a bit sluggish. When Reyne Smith scored a layup for the Cougars the contest was tied at 18 with just over seven minutes before intermission. Another long range shot by Kot sent the Cowboys into the locker room up 30-28 at the break.
CofC appeared to find some ground in the second half. A 3-pointer by Evan Kilminster followed by a short jumper by James Scott off an assist by Kilminster put Charleston up 37-35 five minutes into the period. Wyoming answered with six points, holding the lead until Butler knocked down a trey with 8:24 remaining.
Four minutes later a jumper by Kobe Rodgers tied the contest at 54. 30 seconds later a layup by Brzovic made it 56 apiece. Sadly the Cougars were outpaced 11-4 over the final 3:44 minutes, as they relied on the long ball, closing out the contest going 0-7 from beyond the arc.
The College of Charleston will face the loser between Furman and Coastal Carolina on Sunday afternoon, providing for another all Palmetto state matchup.