College of Charleston drops opening game of Canada tour

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Off-season trips are invaluable to any team, especially those teams that underwent coaching changes.

One such team is the College of Charleston, who is playing a series of exhibitions in Canada under first-year head coach Doug Wojcik.

The Cougars played their first of the tour on Thursday, falling to Elite Phase One by the final score of 71-64. Junior college transfer Anthony Thomas led Charleston with 20 points.

Also joining Thomas in double figures were forwards Adjehi Baru (12 points) and Willis Hall (11 points), with this being Hall’s first game action since 2011 as he redshirted last year due to a knee injury.

“It was a great game,”  Wojcik said in the school release. “We knew the competition would be tough against Canadian pro players who played collegiately in the U.S.

“We didn’t shoot the ball really well (38.8 percent) and they beat us from the free throw line tonight (17-of-21). But, we were able to accomplish a lot on the floor and everyone on our travel roster played some minutes.”

One of those players was former Connecticut guard Denham Brown, who scored 17 points to lead Elite Phase One.

If one thing can be taken from this game when looking at College of Charleston it’s that they’re deep in the front court, and that’s a nice benefit to have when considering the graduation of Antwaine Wiggins.

In addition to Thomas, Baru and Hall the Cougars have the physical Trent Wiedeman back, and he added nine points and seven rebounds on Thursday.

The Cougars controlled the boards on Thursday (38-27 edge, per CofCSports.com), and that’s something they’ll need to do in order to threaten reigning Southern Conference champion Davidson.

The one question heading into the 2012-13 season has to be perimeter scoring, but it’s important to point out that starting point guard Andrew Lawrence isn’t playing on this trip.

Lawrence did get some international experience however, as he played for Great Britain in the Olympics. If he and sophomore Anthony Stitt are up to the challenge when the season rolls around, look for the Cougars to be a factor in the SoCon race.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.