Charleston Classic Thursday Roundup
Former Wofford head coach Mike Young is a class-act, dropping by the Furman locker room following the Paladins’ tough loss to the Nittany Lions to talk with Mike Bothwell and Furman head coach Bob Richey. In the second game of the tournament, Young’s Hokies held off Old Dominion for a 75-71 win. It was the fifth-straight 4-0 to a season for the Hokies. Sean Pedulla led Virginia Tech with 18 points and seven assists, while Grant Basille added 15 points and a pair of blocks off the bench. Darius Maddox rounded out the double-figure scorers with 12. Young’s Hokies will face Penn State at noon in Friday’s first semifinal.
The third game of the day featured even more familiar faces for Paladin basketball fans, as former Chattanooga head coach Lamont Paris and former The Citadel standout forward Hayden Brown were on the floor to face former Furman head coach Niko Medved, who led his Colorado State Rams to 25 wins and an NCAA Tournament appearance last season. Medved’s Rams handed Paris his first loss as South Carolina’s head coach, and it was a doozie as the Rams handed the Gamecocks a whopping 32-point, 85-53, setback. The Rams were playing without leading scorer and guard Isaiah Stevens, however, stepping up in his absence were guards Isaiah Rivera, John Tonje and center James Moors, added 12, 14 and 24 points, respectively, and the Rams outscored the Gamecocks 54-14 in the paint to help Niko Medved to his 160th win as a head basketball coach.
“Isaiah Stevens is one of the best players and people I have ever been around…He’s our leader and he’s started every game in his career before the injury and he’s one of the best point guards in the country…I think what it really speaks to is the character and the development of a lot of the guys in our program and I think we’ve got a really good culture and I take player development really really seriously and I think these guys feel a sense of responsibility to step up to the challenge and we talk a lot in our program is Team Together and I think guys are buying into that and we’re playing really connected defensively and we’re sharing the ball on offense,” head coach Niko Medved said following the Rams win over the Gamecocks.
Colorado State will take on College of Charleston in the second winner’s bracket game of the day, which will take place at approximately 5:30 p.m. South Carolina will take on Davidson Thursday night’s win by Medved marked his 160th win as a college basketball head coach, which has also included stints at Furman (4 years) and Drake (1 year). South Carolina will now face Davidson (3-1) in the second consolation semifinal game Friday night at approximately 9 p.m.
The final game of the night saw a pair of former Southern Conference rivals square off against each other, as Davidson and College of Charleston battled each other, and the Cougars would pull away in the second half to get an 89-66 before a near capacity crowd at TD Arena. In keeping with the familiar theme, the Cougars were led by Wofford grad transfer Ryan Larson, who had a career-high 21 points on a 7-for-11 shooting effort from long-range, and he was joined by Dalton Bolon, who matched Larson with a career-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from three-point land. Pat Robinson III and Ben Burnham rounded out the double-figure scorers for the Cougars, adding 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Davidson, which is led by former All-SoCon guard Matt McKillop, played in the NCAA Tournament regional in Greenville last season, and the past two trips to the Palmetto State for the Wildcat basketball program certainly haven’t been memorable ones for the McKillop family. Last March in Bob McKIllop’s final game as head coach of the Davidson program, the Wildcats lost a heartbreaking, 76-75, contest to Michigan State.
More on Old Dominion:
–Furman will be facing off against the Old Dominion Monarchs for just the second time in program history, with the only other meeting coming in the 2000 SoCon Hoops Thanksgiving Hoops Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in downtown Greenville, defeating the Monarchs, 68-65.
–The Monarchs are of the newest additions to the Sun Belt Conference this season, and are under the direction of former University of Virginia and American head coach Jeff Jones, who is now in his 10th season at the helm of the program based in Norfolk, VA.