College of Charleston Coach John Kresse won't let his team let up. The NCAA tournament is too close, and there is too much danger is history repeating itself.
The 20th-ranked Cougars rolled past Southeastern Louisiana, 93-63, in the semifinals of the Trans America Athletic Conference tournament Friday night in Charleston, S.C., and extended the country's longest winning streak to 21 games.
Charleston (27-2) meets Florida International (16-12), a 90-67 winner over Samford (19-9) in today's finals.
"This will be an ultra-important game in the history of the college," Kresse said. "I really believe that."
Remember Davidson from a year ago, the coach cautioned. Davidson went undefeated in the Southern Conference, just as the Cougars did this year in the TAAC. Davidson advanced to the league's title game, just like the Cougars. But Davidson lost its final and despite a 25-4 record, went to the NIT, just as the Cougars did last year.
The team that beat them: Florida International.
"They didn't get that invite that I felt they should have had," Kresse said. "We have to play our cards right and take away any chance of not going [to the NCAA tournament]."
Thaddeus Delaney had 16 points to lead the Cougars, and Anthony Johnson had 15, all but two in the first half.
Ohio Valley Conference--Defending champion Austin Peay (17-13) got 18 points from Bubba Wells, but struggled in a 70-60 victory over Tennessee Tech (15-13) that earned the Governors a championship game against Murray State (19-9). The Racers, coached by former UCLA assistant Mark Gottfried, had no trouble with Middle Tennessee State (19-12) in a 74-48 win in Nashville.
Northeast Conference--Charles Jones, the nation's leading scorer, and Richie Parker each had 24 points for Long Island University (19-8), which was a 99-88 winner over Marist (6-22) to earn a semifinal game against Rider (14-13), which beat Mount St. Mary's, 80-77, in New York.
Missouri Valley Conference--Lynnrick Rogers scored 38 points for Drake (2-25), which ended a 17-game losing streak with a 74-63 upset of Wichita State (14-13) in St. Louis. That earned the Bulldogs a quarterfinal game against second-seeded Bradley.
Sydney Johnson hit on all six of his three-point shots in leading Ivy League champion Princeton (22-3, 12-0) to its 17th win in a row, 67-52 over Columbia (6-19, 1-12) at Princeton. N.J. . . . Chris Herren scored 35 points to power Fresno State (19-10, 11-4) to a 98-80 victory over Hawaii (19-6, 11-4) in a Western Athletic Conference Pacific Division game in Honolulu on Thursday night.
College Basketball Note
Arizona State senior forward Rodger Farrington, whose 4.2-blocks average over 27 games is the best in Pacific 10 history, will miss the rest of the season because of a broken hand.