With four minutes left in regulation it looked as if North Carolina was on its way to surviving a treacherous trip to Charleston to take on the preseason favorites to win the Southern Conference. But the fun had yet to begin, with Andrew Goudelock helping to spark a 12-1 run that he completed with a three-pointer to send the game into overtime. In fact, Goudelock scored the Cougars' last eight points in regulation on his way to a 24-point night for him and an 82-79 win for his team. Ed Davis led the Tar Heels with 19 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks but he wasn't enough on a night in which Carolina was without Marcus Ginyard and Will Graves due to injury.
Faced with a an opponent far deeper inside Charleston resorted to the three-pointer, attempting thirty-two of their seventy-six shots from behind the arc. North Carolina attempted just six, making one while the Cougars made thirteen shots from distance. The Tar Heels outrebounded Charleston by twenty but that edge can be negated when you get outscored by thirty-six points from downtown and just three players score in double figures. All five CofC starters reached double figures on a night in which Charleston shot a higher percentage from three (40.6%) than North Carolina shot from the field (38.0%), and for a program that consistently ranks among the nation's best in field goal percentage that's a surprise.
Is this a terrible loss for North Carolina? In regards to who they lost to they'll take some grief but Charleston is a solid team that could very well end up with its' league's automatic bid. But to finally get the game somewhat under control only to have it slip away is a disappointment.
Three Key Happenings
1. Louisiana Tech smokes Utah State in Ruston. Utah State needed a win to avoid an 0-2 start to WAC play with both losses coming on the road. Unfortunately for them Louisiana Tech was in no mood to cooperate, dominating from about the 14-minute mark of the first half on in an impressive 82-60 victory. Magnum Rolle led five Bulldogs in double figures with 21 points (and 14 rebounds) while Nate Bendall was the lone Aggie to reach double figures with fourteen. Louisiana Tech won the battle on the boards 37-25 and also finished with seventeen assists to thirteen turnovers. Utah State, normally one of the most efficient teams in America, had just nine assists to thirteen turnovers. Stew Morrill's Aggies aren't in dire straits as of yet; they enjoy one of the nation's best home-court advantages and that will give them ample opportunities to get right back into the WAC race. But for Louisiana Tech to beat Utah State like they did bodes well for their chances at the WAC crown.
2. Western Kentucky knocks off Mississippi State. The Hilltoppers led by as many as eleven in the second half at E.A. Diddle Arena but had to fight off a furious rally from Mississippi State to win 55-52. And you can bet that Rick Stanbury's team sat in the locker room shaking their heads afterward given their 14-for-27 night from the foul line. Steffphon Pettigrew led WKU with 17 points and eight rebounds while Jarvis Varnado paced MSU with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Neither team shot the ball well from the field, a fact that highlights the Bulldogs' struggles with the one shot in basketball that can't be defended. Western Kentucky, falling short in two other games against SEC opponents (LSU and South Carolina, both on the road), picks up their second victory of the year against the conference in road/neutral settings (they beat Vanderbilt on a neutral floor).
3. First place in the CAA belongs to...George Mason. Just last Wednesday Jim Larranaga's Patriots went to Radford and had their heads handed to them by Artsiom Parakhouski and company 80-53. Yet following wins over Old Dominion (Saturday) and Hofstra (tonight) Mason sits alone atop the CAA standings with a 3-0 league record. Ryan Pearson was the hero in the 67-63 win over the Pride, scoring sixteen of his seventeen points in the second half. Despite finishing the game with a rebounding margin of -10 George Mason won by forcing eighteen turnovers and limiting Charles Jenkins to 5-for-15 shooting and eleven points. How long can the Patriots remain atop the CAA standings? They'll be tested at Northeastern on Thursday night and the Huskies are playing good basketball of late, and this league doesn't look to have a runaway favorite as of right now. But you never know.
Top Three Games
1. Charleston 82, North Carolina 79 (OT) See above.
2. Eastern Illinois 97, Tennessee Tech 93 (OT) Tennessee Tech's Frank Davis led all scorers with twenty-seven points but it wasn't enough t knock off the Panthers on their home floor. Jeremy Granger paced the victors with 21 points while James Hollowell added 19 points and 12 rebounds.
3. Arkansas-Pine Bluff 69, Mississippi Valley St 68 (OT) Congrats to the Golden Lions, who picked up their first victory of the season in Itta Bena. UAPB's Lebaron Moore led all scorers with twenty points while Shannon Behling led MVSU with eighteen.
Three Notable Performances
1. G Andrew Goudelock (Charleston) Goudelock scored 24 points, including the Cougars' last eight of regulation, to lead Charleston to an 82-79 upset of North Carolina. Not to be forgotten is the play of North Carolina's Ed Davis, who finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
2. G Lorenzo Keeler (Cal Poly) Keeler lit up UC Irvine for 38 points, making twelve of eighteen shots from the field in the Mustangs' 95-81 road victory.
3. F Luke Babbitt (Nevada) Babbitt made the New Mexico State crowd pay for booing him every time he touched the ball. 26 points on 10-for-14 shooting, 11 rebounds and two assists in the Wolf Pack's 77-67 victory.