It took a while for the Terriers to get things going on Friday night.
A part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, the first ever meeting between the two programs went off to a sloppy start, as the sides combined for only five total points at the first media timeout. Several ball control struggles also plagued the anterior moments of the first half, where the hosting Fairfield Stags turned it over as many times—12—as they had points on the board at halftime.
Karl Cochran, who was tabbed with preseason conference player-of-the-year distinctions, became alive with less than ten minutes to go in the first half. With a quick three-point jumper and subsequent layup, the Marietta, Ga., native banged his way onto the scorecard—similar to the gritty play exhibited by the senior on the court.
“Some players can dominate a game offensively. Others can dominate a game defensively,” assistant coach Tim Johnson said. “Very few can do both, and at the same time. Karl Cochran would fit into the category of ‘very few.’”
Indeed, Cochran led the team in both points—seven, all late in the first half—and five rebounds—to which Lee Skinner’s four was only inferior to—by the time the half rolled around.
When play resumed, someone recognized that the Terriers, who only led 20-12, needed a big start to create some separation from the Stags. That someone was Lee Skinner.
A senior from Lombard, Ill., Skinner scored the first six Terrier points of the second half—and the rest, as they say, was history.
Shooting 43 percent from the floor and 30 percent from behind the three-point arc, the Terriers (2-1) used a sound second half to put away Fairfield (1-2) by a score of 54-36.
Cochran finished with a team-leading ten points and ten rebounds, his third career double-double, while Skinner added eight points and eight rebounds. Other top contributors included Spencer Collins, whose three-pointer at the buzzer counted, capping off his nine points, and Eric Garcia, who scored eight points and a squad-high six assists.
The Terriers will remain in Connecticut throughout the weekend, as they also play on Saturday and Sunday. South Dakota will be Wofford’s foe tomorrow, while Sam Houston State will encounter the Terriers on Sunday.