After a sluggish first half by the Bluejays, they came out after halftime with renewed defensive intensity and held the Bearcats to 14 second half points.
"We put a lot of emphasis on our defense and I told the boys at the half that we were not playing Charleston defense," said Bluejay head coach Danny Farmer. "I believe we got after them a little better in the second half and eventually we wore them down with our pressure."
Dexter only trailed 30-23 at the half but first-year Dexter head coach Chris Trimmer knew his team had better prepare themselves for a second half assault by the Bluejays.
"Charleston didn't play their 'A' game in the first half," said Trimmer. "I tried to tell the boys that they would come out of the half with more intensity on the defensive end and they did. They have a tremendous program over there and coach Farmer does a great job with his kids."
The Bluejays forced 23 Bearcat turnovers led by the guard duo of Shawn Sherrell and Antonio Riggens. On the night, Sherrell and Riggens combined for nine steals, six by Riggens including four in the first quarter.
In addition to forcing a lot of turnovers by Dexter, Charleston outrebounded the Bearcats 34-23 in the game.
"Our inability to rebound and protect the ball was the key to the game," said Trimmer. "We were flat beat on both. You can't simulate the type of speed Charleston has in an everyday practice. It is not possible. Riggens and Sherrell are just outstanding guards and they caused us problems all night. They were everywhere and we did not do a good job of recognizing when Charleston came to double team and it cost us."
Senior Justin Clark got the Bluejays going in the first quarter scoring seven of his 14 points in the period. Charleston forced Dexter into nine turnovers in the first and led 16-6 after one quarter of action.
In the second quarter Dexter was trailing 26-12 with a little over two minutes to play in the half when the Bearcats went on a 5-0 run and eventually only trailed by seven at the break.
"I give credit to my team," said Trimmer, "they played hard and didn't quit out there. We just didn't have the skill that Charleston displayed tonight."
Charleston put the game away at the five minute mark of the third quarter. Leading 32-26, the Bluejays went on a 13-0 run highlighted by a Sherrell pass off the backboard for a two-handed jam by junior Brian Parham.
Dexter didn't score until six minutes had elapsed in the third quarter and trailed 54-32 heading into the final quarter. In the fourth, Charleston iced the game with a 6-0 run to start the quarter and eased to the 73-37 victory.
"We forced a lot of turnovers with our pressure and that is a big part of our defense," said Farmer. "We did a good job of taking away the passing lanes and our depth worked to our advantage. We go eight deep and I don't ever remember us going that deep before. It is nice to have especially since we don't have Jamarcus (Williams)."
Sherrell ended his night with 14 points, six assists, four rebounds and had three steals. Riggens had 12 points, six steals and five assists. Parham had a good game with 11 points and seven rebounds. Jerrell Quinn led the Bluejays with eight rebounds.
"Brian (Parham) is playing very well in the absence of Jamarcus," said Farmer. "He did a good job of defending Dexter's post play and he is just working so hard right now. I can't ask for more for him right now."
Dexter was led in scoring by junior Eric Windham with eight points. Drew Satterfield led the Bearcats with eight rebounds and had six points.
Dexter (0-1) travels to Sikeston on Friday night to face the Bulldogs. The junior varsity game is slated to tip at 6 p.m.
Charleston (3-0) next will participate in the SEMO Conference Tournament starting on Monday in Sikeston. The first round opponent is TBD.