College of Charleston’s memorable victory forgotten as Cougars take on UNC Asheville
WHO: UNC Asheville vs. College of Charleston
WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday
WHERE: TD Arena
RADIO/TV: WTMZ 910-AM; WMMP-TV
RECORDS: Asheville 0-2; Charleston 1-1.
The celebration in the College of Charleston’s locker room after the Cougars’ dramatic come-from-behind victory over Charlotte on Tuesday night rivaled any in the brief history of TD Arena.
But the hoopla was short-lived for the basketball players and coaching staff, ending with the start of practice on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cougars quickly went back to business, preparing to take on UNC Asheville on Friday night at TD Arena. The 7:30 p.m. game will be televised locally on WMMP.
Anthony Stitt, a junior, can’t remember a more improbable win during his career at the College of Charleston. Like the rest of his teammates, he reveled in the victory back at the dorm Tuesday night and during classes Wednesday. Plenty of his fellow students were still buzzing about the team’s 83-82 win that saw the Cougars claw back from a seven-point deficit with less than a minute left in the game. “I’ve never been a part of a game like that,” said Stitt, who connected on a crucial 3-point shot that closed the gap to 80-76 with 31 seconds to play. “Everyone contributed. Everyone had a hand in the comeback. It was a total team win because everyone played their role.”
As good as the win felt, Stitt knew the team couldn’t dwell on it. Before Wednesday’s practice, the Cougars watched the game film and realized they were far from perfect.
“There’s a lot of work left to be done,” said Cougars forward Anthony Thomas, who finished with eight points and four rebounds in 22 minutes. “Defensively we didn’t like giving up 80 points and we could have done a better job rebounding, especially on the defensive end in the second half. It was a great win for us, but it’s in the past. We’re moving forward.”
And that’s exactly what head coach Doug Wojcik was hoping for when the Cougars returned to practice.
“I think this is a very mature team, even the young guys are mature beyond their years,” Wojcik said. “I think this is a very grounded group.
“They came back to practice ready to work on Wednesday, and that’s a great sign for us. I think we’re in a pretty good place right now. We have a pretty quick turnaround facing Asheville, so it’s really important for them refocus on what’s ahead of them.”
Friday’s game will feature three outstanding freshman guards. For the Cougars, Canyon Barry is coming off a career-high 26-point effort against Charlotte, and Joe Chealey scored 18 points and had the assist on Willis Hall’s game-winning basket with 1.7 seconds left in the game.
Asheville’s Andrew Rowsey is averaging 18 points, which includes a 24-point performance in a 74-67 loss to Western Carolina on Monday night. So far this season, Rowsey is 7 of 17 from behind the three-point line.
“(Rowsey) is a very good shooter, he’s shooting the lights out from three-point range,” Wojcik said. “We can’t give him time and space to get his shot off or he can score.”