Willis Hall has had his share of big moments throughout his career at Charleston. So with his team down a point and just a matter of seconds remaining, it was only fitting he found the ball in his hands.
With 3.8 seconds on the clock and the Cougars down a point to Drexel, Hall knocked down a tough seven-foot floater to win the game, 47-46.
The winning play was not as pretty as it reads on paper. After Drexel’s Frantz Massenat missed a pair of free throws, Anthony Sitt fired a three from the corner. The shot was tipped by a Dragon and fluttered in the air. Enter Hall, who grabbed the ball from midair, turned toward the basket, and floated in a tough angle shot.
It was an ugly game throughout, as both teams struggled to score from the floor. Charleston (13-13, 5-6) took a six-point lead into halftime, but came out ice cold in the second half.
Drexel (13-11, 5-6) went on an extended 17-6 run to open the second half, as the Cougars were held to only six points almost 12 minutes into the half.
Luckily for the Cougars, the Dragons were equally as bad from the field, with both teams shooting a mere 32 percent for the game.
After being held scoreless in the first half, Hall came alive with a layup with about eight minutes remaining the game to cut the Drexel lead to five.
The teams traded baskets for several minutes until Hall delivered a big three-point play to put Charleston up three with 1:45 on the clock.
Drexel was not finished, however, as they scored six unanswered points to take a three point lead with about 20 seconds left.
The Cougars’ Joe Chealey was fouled and knocked both free throws to cut the Dragons’ lead to one, setting up the wild final possession for Charleston.
After Hall’s basket, Drexel still had enough time to get the ball up court for one final shot. Guard Chris Fouch got to the basket, but was contested by Adjehi Baru and his shot rolled off the rim as time expired.
“When [the ball] got tipped, I just ran to it and decided I was going to get a shot up someway, somehow,” commented Hall on his game winner. “And that’s all I can tell you.”
Charleston’s backcourt, specifically Sitt, did a great job defending Fouch throughout the game, holding him to 12 points below his season average of over 18 points per game. The Cougars as a team held Drexel to zero three-point field goals made.
“Great win for us. We’ll take it. The offense was certainly not pretty, but I am going to dwell on the positives, and the positives are we are one hell of a defensive team,” said Head Coach Doug Wojcik. “I think we have laid the groundwork here for some incredible toughness as we move forward [in the CAA].”
Canyon Barry led Charleston with 10 points, while Hall finished with nine points and 11 rebounds.
And as for Hall’s game winner, his coach had some high praise for his star forward.
“It was very appropriate for him to make that shot. He’s the only guy on our team that can make that shot, and maybe the only guy in the country that could make that shot,” remarked Wojcik.
Charleston continues their home stand on Saturday when Northeastern visits TD Arena. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m and will be broadcast locally on Comcast Sportsnet.