After losses to San Diego State and Arizona State in the opening two rounds of The Wooden Legacy tournament, College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik wanted to see what his young team was made of Sunday afternoon against Cal State Fullerton.
He got his answer.
College of Charleston center Adjehi Baru recorded his second double-double of the season, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, to lead the Cougars past Cal State Fullerton, 61-48, Sunday in the final round of The Wooden Legacy at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Cougars (3-5) had four players in double-figure scoring, including Canyon Barry and Anthony Stitt with 14 points each and Joe Chealey with 12 points. The Titans (2-6) were led by Michael Williams’ 14 points.
“It was one of those gut-check games for us,” Wojcik said. “It was the third game in four days. We hadn’t won a game yet in the tournament. We didn’t want to be the team that went 0-3. I thought we played a really good game. I thought Adjehi Baru and Anthony Stitt were outstanding.”
Baru, a 6-9 junior, was in control at both ends of the floor. Baru made 5 of 9 shots, had eight of his 10 rebounds on the defensive side of the floor, and added two assists.
“Adjehi was really a man amongst boys today,” Wojcik said. “He did a great job out there and showed a variety of moves on the offensive end. The only complaint I have is that he missed three straight free throws in the second half. Other than that, he was terrific.”
Barry, who had struggled shooting the ball during the first two games of the tournament, made back-to-back baskets late in the first half that was part of a 13-2 Cougar run that opened up the game. After Barry’s second basket — a 3-pointer — in less than a minute that gave the Cougars a 22-14 lead with 5:15 to play in the half, the Titans were forced to call a timeout. As the redshirt freshman approached the Cougars’ bench, he was rewarded with a chest bump from his head coach.
“We kind of challenged him a little bit and he got himself going with a defensive steal,” Wojcik said. “So, he got himself going on the defensive end and led the break. He was aggressive. He attacked the basket and that’s what we want from him. He played very consistently today.”
Stitt was equally effective, going 4 of 9 from the floor to go with seven rebounds and two assists.
“I think Anthony Stitt has stepped up and started to become a vocal leader on the floor for us,” Wojcik said. “I’m really happy to see Anthony take ownership of this team.”
Leading 35-23 at halftime, the Cougars extended their lead to as many as 14 points at the start of the second half on a jumper by Baru, 37-23, with 19:20 to play.
The Titans (2-6) managed to cut it down to seven three times in the last 10 minutes of regulation, but could never get any closer than that.
After shooting 50 percent in the first half, the Cougars finished the game 19 of 46 from the floor (41 percent).
“It’s been a tough tournament shooting-wise,” Barry said. “But you have to keep shooting and push through, push through a slump and believe the next one is going in, and you have to be prepared to take it. I was just glad my teammates kept trusting me and that I was able to do something offensively.”
The Cougars, who will go through final exams for the next two weeks, will return to action on Dec. against Coker at 7 p.m. at TD Arena.
California State University-Fullerton guard Michael Williams (10) passes as College of Charleston forward Willis Hall (53) defends in the first half of an NCAA men's college basketball game at the Wooden Legacy tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)×