Baru, Cougars looking to put Louisville loss behind them
It’s been nine days, but College of Charleston sophomore Adjehi Baru still isn’t over the Cougars’ loss to Louisville.
Anderson vs. College of Charleston
Anderson at College of Charleston
WHEN: 7 p.m. WHERE: TD Arena
RADIO: WTMZ 910-AM
RECORDS: Anderson 6-1, C of C 5-3.
NOTES: College of Charleston guard Andrew Lawrence is listed as questionable for tonight’s game with an ankle sprain. ... This will be the first regular season, non-conference game that the Cougars will face an NCAA Division II opponent since a 97-47 rout of Lees-McRae under former coach Tom Herrion in 2005-06. Anderson is currently receiving votes in the NABC/Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll and finished No. 14 in the final national rankings a year ago. ... Anderson is currently on a six-game win streak. ... The Trojans have made three consecutive NCAA Division II tournament appearances since 2010.
Baru admitted that he might never get over the Cougars’ 42-point defeat to the nationally ranked Cardinals.
But Baru also realizes that he and the Cougars will have to put the Louisville game behind them as they take on Anderson today at 7 p.m. TD Arena.
The atmosphere for tonight’s game will be in stark contrast to the last time the Cougars were on John Kresse Court.
For the most part, College of Charleston’s students have left town after taking their final exams. There won’t be any national television audience and the Cougars will be heavily favored against a Division II team.
All that doesn’t matter to Baru, who said the Cougars must respect each opponent no matter their status in the basketball world.
“We treat every game the same,” said Baru, who recorded 16 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in the loss against Louisville. “There is no easy or stronger game. We treat every game the same. We just want to get the win. We can’t lay back, because they are a Division II team. We just have to go out hard and strong from the get-go.”
The Cougars took a couple of days off after the Louisville game and refocused on themselves during practices.
“We talked about getting back to being ourselves,” said Cougars forward Willis Hall. “That was the topic in the locker room and practice (after the Louisville loss) — not letting teams dictate our rhythm and tempo. We know teams will throw different defenses at us, but we need to be the ones who dictate where they go and what they are doing on the court at all times. From a culture standpoint, we never take anyone who comes into our house lightly. We will bring the same energy and defense against Anderson.”
The opponent, the size of the crowd, television, all those distractions shouldn’t matter to the Cougars, said College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik.
“It’s the perfect game coming out of finals and our players are itching to play again,” Wojcik said. “We scrimmaged East Carolina with no one around and USC Aiken in an exhibition game with a smaller crowd. It’s that time of year when the students are gone and you are in your routine and your family becomes your team. Even more so during the holidays, because there are not as many outside distractions and we can worry about ourselves. I would love to put together a streak going into Christmas break.”
Wojcik is optimistic that forward Trent Wiedeman will return to the lineup before the new year. Wiedeman has missed the last five games with an injured ankle.
“Trent’s doing really well with his rehab,” Wojcik said. “I think he’ll be back on the court sooner rather than later.”
Senior guard Andrew Lawrence, who injured his ankle against Louisville, is listed as questionable against Anderson. Lawrence leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.4 points game.
“It’ll be a game-time decision,” Wojcik said. “We’ll see how he’s moving in warmups.”