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CofC Come Up Empty Again @ Kaplan Arena, Fall 86-84 to W&M

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Brantley Misses Rare Triple Double, Scores 26 Points in Cougars OT Loss

By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer

Recently the College of Charleston men’s basketball team are not strangers to high scoring contests, having hit for more than 80 points or better in their last five games. Coming off a very rough and tumble 88-79 overtime win at home against Northeastern, the Cougars hit the road against William & Mary in a contest that also went into overtime, with the host team setting the pace in the extra period and holding on for an 86-84 victory. With the loss CofC fall to 21-8 on the season and 10-6 in the CAA.

Jarrell Brantley who lead the Cougars in scoring with 26 points had his last second attempt blocked in regulation to force an overtime. Trailing by three in the final seconds of overtime Brantley had a chance to tie the contest at 85 but missed a free throw. Forced to foul Nathan Knight made one of two from the line for the Tribe leaving Charleston five seconds to tie or win the game. Grant Riller who finished with 22 points for the Cougars saw his 3-point attempt rebound off the rim, as CofC have now come up empty six times at Kaplan Arena in Williamsburg, Va.

CofC Head Coach Earl Grant admitted miscues lead to the loss. “We fumbled the ball too many times. It was a big part of what we needed to do and a big part of what we do. We take care of the ball. Tonight, for whatever reason, we had 17 turnovers. It was uncharacteristic. Obviously, we can’t get it back. The miscues and the turnovers were a big deal and guarding without fouling.

Coach Grant added the Cougars took to many chances on defense. “We know coming into a game that this (William & Mary) team will make some threes. I thought we gambled a couple of times. Our discipline wasn’t what it needed to be. Nathan Knight went to the free throw line almost 20 times. They had 27 attempts from the free throw line to our 12. I have no answer for that. That’s plus 15 from the free throw line.”

In the first half of play it appeared CofC would pick up their first win at Kaplan Arena. After falling behind by seven points (16-9) at the 14 minute mark the Cougars began to rally eventually holding onto a 15 point advantage before W&M ended the first half on a 7-0 run to trail 42-34 heading into the locker room at the break.

Up by 10 points early in the second period the Tribe chipped away at the lead making it a one possession game (53-51) on a 3-pointer by Luke Loewe at the midway mark. The Cougars would maintain a small lead for the next three minutes until a short jumper by Knight gave the home team a 61-60 advantage. CofC would go up by four points with under five minutes to play only to have Knight tie the contest at 69 with 2:46 remaining.

A pair from the foul line by Brevin Galloway put Charleston up 72-20 with 37 seconds left. A foul by Riller sent Matt Milon to the line where he tied the contest. Brantley’s last second attempt was blocked by Knight sending the game into overtime.

With just two games left before the season ending CAA Tournament, Brantley says the team is still learning. “We went through a lot in this game. We had a lot of ups-and-downs. We were up by double digits at some point in the game. Through it all, I had a chance to make the free throw (at the end to tie the game in overtime). This team is going to continue to learn and grow. Everything will work out. It’s better it happened now than later.”

Aside from his 26 points Brantley picked up another double double hauling in a game high 12 boards. He missed a rare triple double shelling out seven assists. Riller made 4 of 7 from long range to help with his 22 points. Sam Miller had his best game in a Cougar uniform, coming off the bench making 5 of 8 from the field to finish with 14 points.

Brantley said or his near triple double, “Coach (Grant) puts the ball in my hands a lot. Between me and Grant (Riller), we get a lot of the touches. Now I am learning that everyone of those touches isn’t going to be a shot. I have to make plays for the rest of my team, if we want to be in a position to win.”

William & Mary were lead by Knight with 30 points. Knight connected on 9 of 16 from the floor including 12 of 18 from the charity stripe. Milon made 6 of 11 from long range to finish with 27 points. The Tribe got 8 points apiece from Justin Pierce and Chase Audige. W&M improve to 11-16 overall and 7-8 in league play.

The Cougars will close out their two-game CAA road swing at Elon (9-19, 5-10 CAA) on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. (ET) in Elon, N.C.

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