CLEVELAND -- College of Charleston coach Bobby Cremins isn't quite sure how his team advanced to the NIT quarterfinals for the first time.
"It wasn't a thing of beauty," he said after the Cougars defeated Cleveland State 64-56 in the tournament's second round on Saturday. "It was kind of an ugly game. It wasn't an offensive clinic, I can assure you. I'm still trying to figure out who made the plays."
Charleston (26-10) made enough plays to advance. Donavan Monroe scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures. Andrew Goudelock and Trent Wiedeman added 13 points each while Antwaine Wiggins scored 11 for the Cougars. Wiggins' 3-pointer with 8:42 remaining gave Charleston the lead for good, 48-46. He added a three-point play to put the Cougars ahead by five, and they iced it at the foul line.
Charleston held Cleveland State scoreless for nearly 8 minutes in the second half. Norris Cole, playing the final game of his college career, led Cleveland State with 18 points, but was 6 of 22 from the field and missed all eight of his 3-point attempts. The Vikings (27-9) were 1 of 25 from beyond the arc.
Cleveland State coach Gary Waters said he's never been associated with a team that shot its 3-pointers so poorly in a game.
"If I had to sum this whole thing up, it would be that one thing," he said. "That never happens to us."
"I would like to say it was our defense, but I couldn't say that truthfully," Cremins said. "They couldn't make shots."
The game was billed as a showdown between Cole and Goudelock, but both players struggled in front of scouts from several NBA teams. Cole, the player of the year in the Horizon League after averaging 21.8 points a game, missed his first nine shots in the second half before scoring six points in the final two minutes to keep Cleveland State close. Goudelock, the Southern Conference Player of the Year with a 23.8 average, was 3 of 12 from the field, and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
"We heard so much about him going into the game, we were scared stiff of this guy," said Cremins, who thinks Cole has similar qualities to guards Stephon Marbury and Travis Best, two players he coached at Georgia Tech.
Charleston will play Wichita State or Virginia Tech in the quarterfinals.