By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
Grant Riller and Jarrell Brantley scored 24 and 23 points respectively as the College of Charleston men's basketball team picked up a 67-55 road win against Towson on Thursday night. With the victory CofC improve to 13-2 on the season, move to 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, and extend their winning streak to 10 games. The Cougars entered the game tied with the sixth-longest win streak in the nation with Mississippi State and CAA rival Hofstra.
Charleston had problems from long distance, making just one of twelve from 3-point range, but managed to shoot 47 percent from the floor overall, adding 16 of 17 from the free throw line to best Towson. The Tigers got 14 points from Jordan McNeil with Brian Fobbs adding 13. With the loss Towson fall to 1-2 in CAA play and 5-10 overall.
CofC Head Coach Earl Grant said playing solid basketball provides a better chance for victory. “Anytime you can win on the road, it’s just a good thing. I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. I told the guys, if we take care of the ball, limit turnovers and can hold the team to under 60 points, we have a good chance to win."
Grant admits playing team ball is best. "We did a good job of sharing the ball and moving it around. We were very unselfish. We had guys make big plays, especially in the second half to get some separation. Our bench helped us and we played different lineups. I was proud of our guys’ effort. We played hard and it was a total team effort tonight.”
The Cougars lead throughout the contest taking a 29-23 advantage into the locker room at the break. The best the Tigers could do was cutting the margin to three 31-28 after McNeil hit from long range. But an 8-0 run by CofC including six from Brantley put the Cougars back up by double digits and they managed to keep Towson at a distance in the second half.
CofC got 10 points out of transfer student Sam Miller, who had sit out half the season due to injury and NCAA transfer rules. In just 18 minutes of play he had his best game in a Cougar uniform, going 3 of 5 and 4 of 4 from the line. Miller was happy to contribute. “It was definitely weird for those to match-up perfect with timing. I was just trying to get reps in to kinda work my way back in (once I could practice with the team). I’m feeling really comfortable now and I think it showed tonight.”
Both teams hauled in 32 rebounds apiece but it was the shot making that gave CofC the edge. Towson shot just 36 percent from the field, adding 7 of 9 from the foul line.
According to Coach Grant, keeping the Tigers off balance was part of the Cougars mission. “We knew they would try to run a lot of set plays and we wanted to disrupt the flow. I thought we did a good job of executing the game plan that way. They (Towson) hurt us on the glass in the first half. A lot of their points were second-chance points. In the second half, we did a good job of taking them off the glass.”
Charleston have little time to savor the victory with another road game set for Saturday at James Madison (7-9, 0-3 CAA) in Harrisonburg, Va. The contest will complete a three game CAA road stretch for the Cougars who return to TD Arena next Thursday to host Drexel.