Anthony Stitts 22 points leads College of Charleston past Coastal Carolina, 60-51
College of Charleston guard Anthony Stitt scored a season-high 22 points and handed out seven assists in the Cougars 60-51 victory over Coastal Carolina Saturday afternoon at TD Arena.
An exceptional game by anyone’s standards.
While Stitt’s offensive production was certainly a catalyst in the Cougars (7-4) relatively easy win over Coastal Carolina, it was his defense on Chanticleers guard Anthony Raffa that was most impressive.
Raffa came into the game with a national reputation and a scoring average of nearly 21 points a game. Three days earlier, Raffa had poured in 25 points in the Chanticleers dismantling of Clemson in a 23-point victory (69-46).
The task of slowing down the sharp-shooting guard fell to Stitt, who relished the opportunity. The Charlotte native harassed and chased Raffa through screens and traffic and held him to a season-low zero points.
“Sure, I took it as a challenge to guard him,” Stitt said. “I try to motivate myself when I’m going up against a great scorer like (Raffa). They have two senior guards and we focused on them. We figured if we cut off the head then they couldn’t function. We tried to minimize their looks and let the other guys beat us.”
Raffa, who has five 20-point plus games to his credit already this season, missed all six shots from the floor against the Cougars. Frustrated all game, Raffa sat out large chunks of the game in the first and second halves.
“We kind of rely on Anthony’s production offensively, but if he’s having an off-night, someone else has to step up,” Coastal guard Kierre Greenwood said. “We didn’t step up like we should have, but give College of Charleston credit, they took us out of what we like to do.”
Cougars coach Doug Wojcik said Stitt’s maturation is starting to become evident on the floor with each game.
“He just played a really good game. He’s really coming on,” Wojcik said. “He’s becoming a better floor general for us. He’s becoming a very good off-the-ball defender. He’s starting to become a complete player for us, which is exciting because of where he can take us this season and in the future.”
Besides Stitt’s all-around performance, Chanticleers coach Cliff Ellis credited the Cougars’ offensive rebounding as a major difference. The Cougars had 13 offensive rebounds, including a team-high four from forward Willis Hall.
“They were the more physical and aggressive team,” Ellis said. “Those second shots in the first half, especially by Hall, gave them that edge they needed. Stitt was certainly the X-factor. We shut down (Andrew) Lawrence and (Adjehi) Baru, but Stitt had a big night. He was the X-factor.”
Lawrence, the Cougars’ leading scorer finished with seven points, while Baru had four point and five rebounds.
“It was nice to see us win when Adjehi didn’t have his best game,” Wojcik said. “Without Trent (Wiedeman) in the lineup I wasn’t sure we could win without Adjehi playing well.”
Wiedeman, a preseason All-SoCon pick, missed the game with a sprained left ankle.
Neither team could find their offensive rhythm early in the game, but Cougars used a 10-4 run to open up a 26-14 lead on Anthony Thomas’ driving layup with 2:41 left late in the first half.
The teams exchanged baskets to start the second half , but the Cougars found their stride and used a 13-4 run to break the game open. The run featured eight points, including a 3-pointer, from Stitt, and a beautiful pass that set up a Baru dunk.
“We wanted to put them away and I think we did in the second half,” Stitt said.
Hall finished with eight points and six rebounds for the Cougars, while Nori Johnson chipped in eight points.