Chalk up a big one for Doug Wojcik, in his first season at College of Charleston. His Cougars went into Waco and pounced on the Baylor Bears, coming away with a huge 63-59 road win that will resound for both teams come tournament time.
Junior forward Willis Hall had his first double-figure game of the young season for C of C, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds as part of a balanced effort by the Cougars. British Olympian Andrew Lawrence kicked in 10 points and seven assists, and guard Anthony Stitt (10 points) and forward Anthony Thomas (11 points) made it four players in the low double figures for the visiting team. Starting center Adjehi Baru did his part, scoring eight to go with 15 huge rebounds against what should have been an overpowering Baylor front line.
Baylor’s Pierre Jackson led all scorers with 21 points, and had five rebounds and five assists as well. The Bears got 12 points out of young Ike Austin, but no other Baylor player even caught a whiff of double figures. Brady Heslip, who recently poured in a career-high 29 points in a win over St. John’s, did not play. The Canadian sharpshooter had his appendix removed on Tuesday.
Charleston pulled away at the end of the first half, and went into the locker room with a 31-26 lead. Baylor roared back to lead 46-42 with just over 10 minutes left in the game, but lost the advantage and never held it again. The game ended in a flurry of missed shots by the Bears and made free throws by the Cougars.
This loss will once again raise the question that has dogged Baylor coach Scott Drew in recent seasons: sure he can recruit, but can he really coach? Can he pull disparate parts together into a single-minded team? It’s something the 4-2 Bears will want to figure out quickly. Their next opponent is No. 6 Kentucky – a team that thrives on reinventing itself in thrilling fashion every, single, season.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.