College of Charleston cruises past Chattanooga, 86-59
Let them eat chicken.
The College of Charleston basketball team has a season-long promotion with a local restaurant that allows fans to get free chicken when the Cougars score 73 points or more at a home game.
Going into Saturday afternoon’s game with Chattanooga, Cougars fans had only experienced free chicken once — that coming in Charleston’s 75-58 season-opening victory over Towson.
Make it twice now.
Anthony Stitt scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures as the College of Charleston cruised to an 86-59 win over Chattanooga before a crowd of 3,722 at TD Arena.
It was easily the most complete performance of the season for the Cougars (11-5, 3-1 in Southern Conference) who have struggled at home. The Cougars improved to 6-5 at TD Arena and exorcised some of the demons from Thursday night’s collapse against Samford (62-57) that saw Charleston squander a nine-point lead over the final five minutes of the game.
This was the team that many expected when the Cougars were picked to contend for the Southern Conference title in the preseason.
The Cougars dominated in just about every facet of the game, using a smothering defense to generate easy points on the offensive end.
“This was probably our best all-around game of the season,” said College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik. “Our basketball I.Q. was good tonight. To me, it’s about our progress. We learned from Thursday and it’s not always going to go this way. It did today and it’s good, especially against this (Chattanooga) team. They are talented and could easily be in the finals of the SoCon tournament in March. It was a quality conference win for us. We were just very aggressive on both ends of the floor.”
The 86 points were the most points the Cougars have scored all season and the 27-point win was the largest margin of victory.
“I coached the offense today,” a joking Wojcik said after the game. “There were so many positives to take out of this game. Everyone played well.”
The Cougars never gave Chattanooga (7-10, 2-2) a chance during the game, jumping out to a 20-2 lead in the first 10 minutes.
“We talked in the locker room a lot about playing a full game, 40-minute game and I felt like we did that today,” said Stitt, who was eight of 13 from the floor. “We’ve been struggling at home and we felt like it would take one game for the cover to finally come off the basket. We’ve just got to keep it rolling from here and not have any letdowns.”
The Cougars continued to pour it on in the first half, taking a 50-24 lead at halftime. The 50 points were the most the Cougars have scored in a first half all season.
Unlike Thursday night’s against Samford, the Cougars never gave the Mocs a chance in the second half, opening up a 30-point lead early in the first three minutes.
“We can’t let someone come into our house and play harder than us,” Stitt said. “We were really focused on our intensity from the start and that was a big boost for us. We know that we got off to a big start in the first half, so we were working on that and we have to keep doing that. We can’t let people come back we have to have a killer instinct.”
The second half featured a highlight reel one-handed alley-op dunk from Andrew Lawrence to Adjehi Baru.
Lawrence finished with just seven points, but dished out a season-high 10 assists. Baru recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Trent Wiedeman and Anthony Thomas finished with 11 points each. Willis Hall chipped in 13 points.
The Cougars play at The Citadel on Monday at 7:30 p.m.