Riller's 28 Pts. Leads Four Players in Double Figures, CofC Host W&M Thursday
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
The College of Charleston men's basketball team traveled to Maryland to take on Towson Saturday afternoon, with the winner securing a firm hold on second place and perhaps of share of first in the CAA standings. Before 2400 plus fans at SECU Arena the Cougars hang tough downing the Tigers 79-70. With the win CofC improve to 8-3 in the conference and 14-9 overall.
Coming off his third 30 plus point game of the season Thursday night, Grant Riller once again lead the Cougars with a game high 28 points. Riller finished shooting 9 of 13 from the floor, adding two from beyond the arc, and 8 of 9 from the line. Brevin Galloway made three from long range, adding seven points from the line for 16 points. Jaylen McManus stepped up his game Saturday afternoon, finishing with 14 points, with Sam Miller adding 10 for the Cougars and a team best eight rebounds.
CofC head coach Earl Grant gave his players credit after having a short time to prepare for Towson. "I thought our guys really responded well to having a short turnaround this week. Anytime you play at 7 o'clock on Thursday and play at 2 o'clock on Saturday, you have a lot of decisions to make and what you do in-between. We showed great maturity in our preparation and the guys came out and did an unbelievable job of following the game plan."
With less than three minutes remaining in the contest a 7-0 run by Towson cut the CofC lead (65-63) to one possession. But an ugly 3-point shot by Sam Miller followed by three from the line from Riller gave the visitors an eight point cushion. Forced to foul, Galloway, Riller, and McManus closed the contest out at the line.
Towson lead for almost the entire first half, building their advantage behind six 3-pointers. A nearly three minute scoring drought by CofC, late in the opening period allowed the Tigers to secure a 30-18 lead with just over four minutes remaining. Seven unanswered points by the Cougars would cut the margin to five. A buzzer beating long range shot by Riller would send Towson into the locker room up 38-33 at the half.
Charleston came out of the break with renewed purpose getting behind a 13-2 lead to take a 46-40 lead inside the first six minutes. With the score tied at 48 all, another 5-0 run by Charleston including a long range missile by Galloway put the Cougs up 53-48 midway thru the period.
CofC would go up by as many as nine points on two separate occasions before the home team began to rally, cutting it to 65-63 on a blank by blank. But the Cougars remained steady at the foul line, using a couple of defensive stops to coast to victory.
Allen Betrand lead three Tigers in double figures. Betrand made 7 of 16 finishing with 18 points. Jason Gibson went 4 of 6 from downtown for 16 points, with Brian Fobbs chipping in 15 points, going 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. With the loss Towson fall to 7-4 in the CAA and 13-10 on the season.
With most stats even, the difference in the contest was from the floor. CofC shot 52% with Towson just 40% from the field. Coach Grant was pleased with their overall unselfish play. "We looked like a team that really trusts each other. We had 15 assists."
After a slow start in the first half, Coach Grant added the team just needed to settle in. "Early in the game, we were taking some shots that we did not need to take. We were very impulsive on some of the attempts we took early in the possession. Then, we started to get a little more patient and were moving around. They started to let the ball find their teammates for open threes, drive and dunk situations."
With William & Mary losing to Hofstra on Saturday, it leaves CofC in a virtual three way tie for first place with all three teams. It should make for an exciting match-up with an opportunity to take sole possession of first place when the Cougars return home to host William & Mary (16-8, 8-3 CAA) 7pm Thursday at TD Arena. The Tribe took their first meeting, downing the Cougars 67-56 on January 11th. Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-COFC or going online at: www.CofCSports.com/tickets