Redshirt freshman guard Canyon Barry (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and junior guard Anthony Stitt (Charlotte, N.C.) each scored 14 points to lead College of Charleston to a 61-48 victory over tournament host Cal State Fullerton in the seventh-place game of The DIRECTV Wooden Legacy held on Sunday at The Honda Center.
The Cougars (3-5) picked up their first tournament win after back-to-back losses to two top West Coast opening-round teams in San Diego State and Arizona State.
They stretched out the lead to as many as 14 points at the start of the second half on a jumper by junior big man Adjehi Baru (Abidjan, Ivory Coast), 37-23, but the Titans (2-6) managed to cut it down to seven twice in the last 10 minutes of regulation.
CofC shot an improved 41.3 percent from the field (19-of-46) as Baru turned in a 13-point and 10-rebound double-double performance and freshman guard Joe Chealey (Orlando, Fla.) added 12 to round out the Cougars' double-figure scorers. The foursome combined for 53 of the team's 61 points.
Michael Williams led the way for Cal State Fullerton with 14 points. The Titans trailed College of Charleston, 35-23, and were held defensively to a season-low 31.0 percentage from the floor (18-of-58) and 25.0 percentage from beyond the arc.
In addition to his 11 first-half points on 4-of-5 shooting, Baru blocked four shots in the first 20 minutes and ended the game with a career-best five.
CofC travels home to Charleston and prepares for final exams upon its return. The Cougars will have 11 days, before hosting Coker College on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena.
· For the eighth consecutive game, the Cougars used the starting lineup of freshman Joe Chealey, junior Anthony Stitt, redshirt freshman Canyon Barry, senior Willis Hall and junior Adjehi Baru (3-5).
· With the win, College of Charleston takes a 1-0 lead in the all-time series with Cal State Fullerton. The Cougars are now 1-1 lifetime versus Big West Conference opponents having last met Hawai'i at the Diamond Head Classic in 2009.
· The Cougars shot an improved 41.3 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from beyond the arc – their best percentages in a single game in their first-ever appearance at The DIRECTV Wooden Legacy.
· The CofC defense held Cal State Fullerton to a season-low 31.0 percent from the floor (18-of-58).
· Adjehi Baru registered 13 points and 10 rebounds against Cal State Fullerton. He also made a career-high five blocked shots. It marked his second double-double of the season and his 11th of his career.
· Willis Hall brought down double-digit boards for the third time this season with a game-high 11 rebounds.
· CofC shot 50 percent from the floor (11-of-22) in the first half versus the Titans. It marked the fifth time this season to shoot better than 50 percent in a half next to 56.3 percent (1st Half) vs. Miami on Nov. 18, 53.3 percent (1st Half) and 60.7 percent (2nd Half) against Furman on Nov. 23, 50 percent (2nd Half) vs. Charlotte on Nov. 12.
· Anthony Stitt grabbed a career-and season-high tying seven rebounds against Cal State Fullerton. He also turned in his third game scoring in double figures this season.
· The Cougars outrebounded the Titans, 40-35 (+5), and have now won the battle of the boards on four occasions this year. They are 3-1 when outrebounding the opposition.
· CofC was sent to the free throw line a season-high 30 times in which it converted 19 (63.3%) including an 11-for-13 performance from the charity stripe in the first half.
College of Charleston Head Coach Doug Wojcik
On the game …
"It was a great win for us. This is my second trip out here to play in the event and you don't ever want to be the team that doesn't win a game. Our guys really responded. We extended the lead, maintained the lead and it was just a really good win for us. We've had a tough schedule in November and we wanted to start December the right way. We're a pretty pleased group tonight getting on that plane to go home."
On Adjehi Baru's defensive performance …
"He was a real mainstay for us. I thought a few things happened well for us and he was consistently good for us throughout the 40 minutes. Obviously, he was able to protect the rim for us. I thought he had consistent leadership and his defensive effort on (Michael) Williams was good. (Canyon) Barry got aggressive and got a steal and made some buckets. Adjehi was kind of the anchor through all of that. He played a great game."
On the team's effort today and moving forward …
"I'm real pleased. We stayed positive the last two days. San Diego State. Give them credit. Coach (Steve) Fisher has them playing really well. In my opinion, Arizona State has two pros on the court in (Jordan) Bachynski and (Jahii) Carson. We competed against them. We're down 36-35 and have a bad stretch of about three minutes where we don't score and they extend the lead. Then today, we bounced back against Cal State Fullerton. Our defense continues to get better. Our bench production is pretty good. We were able to get minutes for guys that we're going to need minutes as the season wares on. And starting two freshmen (Barry and Chealey), they're going to have those peaks and valleys. I think we've learned to play through those peaks and valleys with some of our youth. I'm going to have to give the credit there to Anthony Stitt, Adjehi Baru and Willis Hall for their leadership."
College of Charleston Redshirt Freshman Guard Canyon Barry
On the team's shooting during the tournament …
"It's been a tough tournament shooting wise. 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 (against Cal State Fullerton)."
On the team's effort today and moving forward …
"As a team, we were disappointed with our effort against San Diego State. We came out slow in the first half. But, throughout the tournament, like coach said, we were able to bounce back and play hard. Arizona State was a good game. They had their stretch and then we couldn't catch them after they extended their lead. It was really nice to come out today and finally get a win. The senior leadership definitely helped us bounce back."