Inaugural Campaign, Wojcik Era Begins With Towson
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (0-0, 0-0 SoCon) vs. TOWSON (0-0, 0-0 CAA)
November 9, 2012 • 7:30 p.m. (ET)
TD Arena/John Kresse Court (5,100)
at Charleston, S.C.
Radio: College of Charleston Radio Network (ESPN Radio 910 AM)
Series History: Series Tied 1-1
Last Meeting: Towson def. CofC, 86-75, on Jan. 2, 2006 in Charleston, S.C.
Internet: Free Live Statistics and Pay-Per-View Video at www.CofCSports.com
College of Charleston: Doug Wojcik
First Year at CofC: First Year
Eighth Year Overall: 140-92 (.603)
Towson: Pat Skerry
Second Year at Towson: 1-31 (.031)
Second Year Overall: 1-31 (.031)
RADIO (College of Charleston Radio Network)
Play-By-Play: Jeff McCarragher
Color Analyst: Everett German
A new era and the 103rd season of College of Charleston Basketball begins under first-year head coach Doug Wojcik. The Cougars (0-0) will kick-off the inaugural campaign against Towson (0-0) in both team's regular-season opener on Friday, Nov. 9 at TD Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) and will be part of a doubleheader with the CofC women's basketball team. Wojcik follows in the footsteps of two legendary coaches in John Kresse and Bobby Cremins, and looks to make his own mark on the program, which his predecessors built. He is no stranger to filling such big shoes as the all-time winningest coach in Tulsa Basketball history ahead of Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith and Bill Self. A talented group returns for Wojcik to work with as the Cougars welcome back 10 letterwinners, who accounted for 71 percent of the team's scoring and 67 percent of the team's rebounding a year ago, including three All-Southern Conference performers in Andrew Lawrence, Trent Wiedeman and Adjehi Baru. CofC is coming off a 68-52 exhibition victory over NCAA Division II USC Aiken on Nov. 3 and the Towson matchup will be the start of a four-game homestand leading into the opening-round games of next week's ESPN Charleston Classic versus St. John's and Murray State or Auburn.
EYEING THE TIGERS
The Tigers have an entirely new look under the direction of second-year head coach Pat Skerry. Only five members, three of them being scholarship players, return from last year's 1-31 squad including top returning player, Marcus Damas, who averaged 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 2011-12. The remainder of Towson's roster includes Division I transfers from Providence, South Florida, Georgetown and Vermont. In their lone preseason exhibition tune-up before traveling to Charleston, the Tigers routed NCAA Division II Bloomsburg by 22 points (87-65) on Nov. 1.
COUGARS IN SEASON OPENERS
CofC is 15-6 all-time in regular-season openers (.714), including a 10-1 home mark, since its inaugural campaign as a Division I member in 1991-92. Last season, the Cougars defeated Holy Cross, 78-69, to extend their home-opener win streak to four consecutive games since 2008.
AGAINST THE CAA
CofC is 32-11 (.744) all-time versus schools hailing from the Colonial Athletic Association. Towson is one of seven CAA opponents the Cougars have met in the past, next to Delaware (2-0), Drexel (2-0), George Mason (3-1), Georgia State (16-6), James Madison (1-0) and UNC Wilmington (8-4).
PROJECTED COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON STARTERS
#22 Anthony Stitt, G, 6-1, 180, So. (9.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 27.5 min)
#4 Andrew Lawrence, G, 6-1, 185, Sr. (13.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.5 apg, 35.4 min)
#3 Anthony Thomas, F, 6-7, 207, Jr. (DNP)
#44 Trent Wiedeman, F, 6-8, 255, Jr. (12.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 0.9 apg, 31.3 min)
#1 Adjehi Baru, F/C, 6-9, 225, So. (7.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.6 apg, 26.7 min)
PROJECTED TOWSON STARTERS
#0 Jerome Hairston, G, 6-3, 190, Fr. (DNP)
#1 Marcus Damas, F, 6-7, 210, Jr. (12.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 34.2 min)
#20 Jerrelle Benimon, F, 6-8, 245, Jr. (DNP)
#23 Mike Burwell, G, 6-5, 205, Jr. (DNP)
#24 Bilal Dixon, F/C, 6-9, 245, Sr. (DNP)
The all-time series is tied 1-1 dating back to both program's first-ever meeting which resulted in a 20-point victory for the then Tom Herrion-coached Cougars (78-58) over the Tigers on Nov. 29, 2004 in Towson, Md. The following season, Towson leveled the series with an 86-75 (+11) win at John Kresse Arena on Jan. 2, 2006 in Charleston.
"Defense wins championships, defense sets you apart," is one of the four mottos in the style of play you will see in a Wojcik-coached squad. The Cougars forced USC Aiken into 15 turnovers and low shooting percentages from the floor (28.6%) and from beyond the arc (32.4%) in their exhibition game against the Pacers on Nov. 3. Last season, CofC opponents averaged 14.4 miscues per game and shot 42.0 percent from the field.
• Coach Wojcik has never faced a CAA school in his seven years as a Division I head coach. However, as a former starting point guard and team captain at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1985-87, Wojcik helped the Midshipmen to two CAA regular-season and tournament titles in 1986 and 1987. Navy teammate David "The Admiral" Robinson turned over his CAA MVP Award to Wojcik, citing his unselfish play and leadership abilities in 1986.
• Towson assistant coach Luke Murray, is the son of Hollywood actor and comedian Bill Murray, who frequents CofC Basketball games as a Lowcountry resident and part-owner of the Minor League Baseball team, the Charleston RiverDogs, a Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees.
• CofC sophomore guard T.D. Dixon (Class of 2011) and Towson freshman guard Jerome Hairston (Class of 2012) are both alumni of Christ School in Arden, N.C. Dixon led the Greenies to two North Carolina Independent School state championship titles as a junior and senior under head coach David Gaines including a school-record 37 wins in 2009-10, while Hairston was a first-team state selection and rated the No. 18-best point guard in the country by Scout.com in 2011-12.
USC AIKEN RECAP
CofC 68, USC Aiken 52
• The Cougars used the starting lineup of sophomore Anthony Stitt, senior Andrew Lawrence, junior Anthony Thomas, sophomore Adjehi Baru and junior Trent Wiedeman.
• With the victory, CofC has now won five consecutive exhibition games since the start of the 2009-10 season and first preseason tune-up in the Doug Wojcik Era.
• The Cougars now lead 17-7 in the all-time series with USC Aiken. Their 16-point margin of victory over the Pacers was quite the difference from a close two-point overtime win (94-92) in both team's last preseason meeting on Nov. 7, 2009.
• Six newcomers made their unofficial CofC debuts including JUCO transfer Anthony Thomas, freshman Theo Johnson, freshman Canyon Barry, junior walk-on Judson Hall, redshirt freshman walk-on Harrison Bowne and freshman walk-on Chad Cooke.
• Canyon Barry, who will continue to redshirt this season (eligible to play preseason games only), drained two underhanded-free throws at the 8:51 minute mark of the second half. Barry is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry who was famous for the shot.
COUGAR SOUND BITES
"Towson will be a different team from years past and a very athletic team based on the transfers they have. We will need to be ready. They will be the one team who will be the most unknown to us all year with their three Division I transfers (Bilal Dixon, Mike Burwell and Jerrelle Benimon). It's not fair to judge them based off of last season, particularly late last year, coming off a 1-31 season. As a second-year head coach, Pat Skerry is doing a good job and trying to implement his own program. They are the one unknown. We will know a little more about St. John's than we do about Towson. And, as the year goes along, you know more and more about each team, because they have played games." - CofC Head Coach Doug Wojcik on the matchup with Towson
"I'm there already and I've been here long enough. I've coached my team five times - three times in Toronto, the exhibition game (against USC Aiken) and then the scrimmage against ECU. I'm in a comfortable place. I feel really good about our team and how they are trying to do things the way we want them done and their unity amongst themselves. I am comfortable, have nothing but Maroon and Gold (in my wardrobe) and feel at home now." - Wojcik on being next in line behind John Kresse and Bobby Cremins and feeling the anticipation and excitement of following in their footsteps on Friday night
"We are really excited to start the season. We know what we can do as a team and that is going out there and playing defense. That is our biggest asset - our defense. We are pretty athletic and it will be fun to watch. We are ready to play. They (Towson) will play a lot of zone. It will be a challenge to see if we can shoot the ball. They have some experience and a great wing player like (former CofC standout) Antwaine Wiggins, who I will guard on Friday night." - Junior Forward Anthony Thomas on opening the season against Towson