Cougars Hoping To Pick Up Much Needed Win At Home Against Tough Atlantic 10 Program
Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
Ten games into the 2019-20 season the College of Charleston men's basketball team find themselves 5-5 overall. The Cougars lost two games during the Wooden Legacy, including a second time to UCF, and are coming off a 78-71 loss to Richmond last Saturday.
Prior to the season Head Coach Earl Grant imagined they would have little better win loss record. "Obviously, we thought we would be a little bit better than 5-5. We had our opportunities to win some close games against some good teams. But, we knew it would be a challenge."
Coach Grant says the team has to stay the course. "I told the guys we have to weather the storm, because there would be some opportunities for us to have big wins. But, the teams we were playing were very capable and we had to play well to win them. We wish we could have won a game or two more. But, we can learn from some of the defeats, and hopefully, it will help us as we go through the season."
Grant understands it will not get any easier Wednesday night when CofC welcomes 25th ranked VCU to TD Arena. It will the second game in a row against an Atlantic 10 program. "They have a good team. It's the next opponent on our schedule. It's one of the really good teams we play."
After stealing a game from the Rams last year on their home court Grant expects VCU will be out for some revenge. "They have an unbelievable big guy in (Marcus) Santos-Silva under the basket. They have multiple guards that are capable and we matchup with them well."
VCU leads 4-2 in the all-time series with College of Charleston. Last year, the Cougars ended the Rams' three-game win streak in the series with a signature 83-79 road victory behind senior guard Grant Riller, and a 26-point and 17-rebound performance from 2019 NBA draft pick Jarrell Brantley, who is currently a two-way player with the Utah Jazz. It marked CofC's first win at VCU in four tries.
With several games at home Coach Grant says the team has to focus on playing to the level he's knows they are capable of. "More than VCU, I'm worried more about us playing with the energy and toughnesswe are capable of. We are back at home for the rest of this non-conference. If we are playing at the level that we can play at, it doesn't matter who the opponent is."
Riller, Charleston's leading scorer and CAA Pre-Season Player of the Year expects a tough game with VCU, and is thankful the rematch is on the Cougars home court. "It was a tough game last year. We had a different roster. They kind of have the same roster. It will be a whole new game and in a whole new environment. It's good that they get to come here, and we get to play at home in front of our fans. We are looking forward to having a good game."
VCU who return four starters, come to Charleston with an 8-2 record overall with a signature win (84-82) over previously 23rd ranked LSU. VCU had been ranked as high as 19th this year in national polls, and currently sit at 25th in the country.
CofC and VCU tip off 7pm Wednesday night on John Kresse Court inside TD Arena. The contest will be aired on the College of Charleston Radio Network (ESPN Radio 910 AM | 94.7 FM) and televised by FloSports.