Charleston Preview

The Tar Heels are in Charlotte, N.C. this weekend for the Tournament of Champions. Tonight, they face off with the College of Charleston at about 9:15 p.m. in the Charlotte Coliseum. TV coverage is by Raycom/JP.

Charleston (6-1) vs. North Carolina (2-4)
9:15 p.m. (approx)
TV: Raycom/JP
Radio: (Listen live)

Gameday Links:
Raleigh N&O - Uncertainty clouds Tar Heels
Charlotte Observer - Doherty can't worry about history
Greensboro N&R - Doherty, Heels have another obstacle to overcome
Durham H-S - Doherty: We can't overlook anyone
W-S Journal - Lang is questionable for UNC's game against Charleston
TarHeelBlue - Game Notes

Matt Doherty Q&A on Charleston
(transcribed by J.B. Cissell)

Opening Remarks:

"We're looking forward to playing a basketball game against a well-coached team. Everyone knows what a great coach John Kresse is. They've got some talented kids—especially Bolton. He's really a talented player who can put the ball in the basket from a lot of different angles.

"We're excited. It's a neat atmosphere—a tournament atmosphere. We want to come down here and win this tournament."

Is this a pivotal weekend for this team?

"Every game at the moment is pivotal, and then you move on and the next game becomes pivotal so I think that every game is important, but I don't know if one game or tournament is more important than another. I think every game is important for us to build our confidence and to get better. This is certainly a heck of a test down here with the teams in this tournament."

On Sunday you said that the win was important for the sake of a win, and that it helped their confidence. What have you seen in that regard the last few days?

"We didn't have great practice on Tuesday. It was not a very good practice, and I was disappointed in that. We had a meeting [on Wednesday] and talked about what it takes and I talked about the importance of being into it emotionally, as well as physically. You've got to be into it with both feet emotionally, and there is a risk there because sometimes you won't get rewarded. But if you don't have your emotional self into the game and the team, you can be sure of one thing—that you're not going to be successful.

"I think a lot has happened. When you lose a basketball game, and you have kids that are sick and hurt—Kris Lang tweaked his knee the other day and we had two kids throwing up in practice—they think, 'Well, what else can happen?' We just talked from the heart, and we had a great practice, and hopefully we'll have another great practice [on Thursday] and perform well against the College of Charleston."

So you had a real heart-to-heart on Wednesday?

"Yes, we had a team meeting yesterday, and we just talked about the emotion because the day before I was disappointed in the lack of emotion in practice, so I came back and talked to the team. Jason can't be the only guy—it's got to be a team effort.

"Jason plugs into me, and the guys plug into Jason, but Jason can't be the only guy bringing the emotion to the floor every day. We need everybody to jump in with both feet and be emotionally committed because we're not good enough to win without that emotion. And a lot of factors play into emotion—losing, exams, fatigue, and whatever else—but we've got to bring that emotion every time we step on the floor in practice and games. And as a result, we had one of the best practices that I've been around. It was a lot of fun, we played hard, and we executed very well."

Is it hard to get up for a team like the College of Charleston?

"If my team can't get up for playing our JV team right now, with our record, we've got major problems. On top of that, we have the utmost respect for the College of Charleston. That's not an upstart program. We respected Binghamton, but the College of Charleston and John Kresse has the third-highest winning percentage in college basketball. College of Charleston has beaten North Carolina, College of Charleston played us down to the wire last year with a team with Joseph Forte and Brendan Haywood and Ronald Curry. We respect them. There's no issue of getting up for the College of Charleston, nor should there be for 'X-Y-Z' University."

Previewing Charleston

The Cougars enter Friday night's game with a 6-1 record. They've posted narrow wins over UNC Wilmington and American, and have blown out such small schools as Charleston Southern and Stetson. The one loss was a stunning upset at home by a non-DI school, Belmont Abbey. (2001-2002 Schedule/Results w/Stats)

Head coach John Kresse's Cougars lost last year's star senior bigman Jody Lumpkin (17.1 pts, 7.9 reb), but senior Jeff Bolton has taken on the role of team star as he takes aim at the SoCon Player of the Year honors. Helping fill the void left by Lumpkin, freshman Shannon Chambers is off to a terrific start.

The Cougars faced the Tar Heels last year in the finals of the Tournament of Champions on Dec. 30. Carolina held on for a 64-60 win, thanks to 29 points from Joseph Forte. Bolton had a team-high 25 points (11-17 FG) for the Cougars, while Lumpkin added 16 points.

Starting Lineup:
Jeff Bolton (6-4, Sr., G) 19.6 pts (45% 3pt), 5.4 reb
A.J. Harris (6-0, Jr., G) 2.0 pts, 5.0 ast
Thomas Mobley (6-5, So., F) 9.9 pts, 3.6 reb
Leighton Bowie (6-6, Jr., F) 7.4 pts, 4.0 reb
Rudy Rothseiden (6-8, Jr., C) 4.1 pts, 3.9 reb

Key Reserves:
Shannon Chambers (6-7, Fr., F) 11.0 pts, 7.0 reb, 2.7 blk
Tony Mitchell (5-11, Fr., G) 7.0 pts
Troy Wheless (6-3, Jr., G) 5.5 pts
Mike Benton (6-9, So., C) 3.0 pts, 4.0 reb

Team Roster
Season Stats

Location: Charleston, S.C.
Enrollment: 11,620
Conference: Southern
Nickname: Cougars
Colors: Maroon and White
Head Coach: John Kresse
Record at CC: 539-134
Years at CC: 22

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