CofC Down W&M 68-50, Take Over 1st Place In CAA

Brevin Galloway Scores Career Best 23 Points As Cougs Win Third Straight

By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer

A couple games into the second half of CAA regular season play, the College of Charleston men's basketball team found themselves in a three way tie with William & Mary and Hofstra. All were at 8-3 in the conference. For the Cougars and their fans it made for an exciting match-up when as CofC hosted W&M Thursday night at TD Arena, with an opportunity to take solo position of first place with a win, and Hofstra idle. It also provided fans to witness two of the most explosive players in the league, the Tribe's Nathan Knight, and Charleston's Grant Riller

Entering the game both teams were going in different directions. The Cougars had won three of their last four contests, while the Tribe have lost two of their last three. Charleston returned home winners of back to back road games (James Madison & Towson). CofC shot 51.4 percent from the field, 51.0 percent from long range (25 3-pointers), and 80.5 percent from the free throw line against the Dukes and Tigers combined, averaging 83 points per game and defensively held its opponents to 69 ppg.

Would it carry over. After 40 minutes of exciting hoops action CofC lead for nearly 37 minutes, exploding on offense in the final 10 minutes en-route to a 68-50 win. While Grant Riller usually leads the team in scoring, it was Brevin Galloway with a career best 23 points that forged the Cougar charge. Galloway finished shooting 9 of 13 from the field, including 4 of 8 from long range.

Sam Miller went 3 of 6 from beyond the arc to pump in 13 points for CofC. Riller would end up with 10 points, while dishing out three assists. While the Cougars were outsized under the basket which lead to a 44-29 disadvantage in rebounding, they did make it up from the floor, outshooting W&M 48% to 33%. CofC won the long range stats as well, knocking down 9 of 22 from 3-point range. W&M made just 4 of 23. With the win the Cougars improve to 15-9 overall and 9-3 in the CAA.

Although the Cougars were outplayed under the basket, head coach Earl Grant found some positives. "When you make them miss, you have to go get the rebound. We made them miss a lot. In the first half, they shot 28 percent, so that's a lot of misses. The next key is when you make them miss, go get the rebound. We had a hard time with that tonight."

Despite 28 points and 18 rebounds from Knight, Grant was happy to keep the Tribe well under the season total. "The big guy (Knight) had all of the rebounds and he would rebound his own miss. We had a lot of hands in there trying to dig it out. The other rebounds were long rebounds on three-point shots. Sometimes you can't worry about the long rebounds. Fifty points. We will take it."

The Tribe controlled the tip off and was the first to light up the scoreboard. But three from long range, and 10 quick points from Galloway soon found Charleston on top 16-8. But W&M and their offensive weapon Knight kept within striking distance, cutting it to two possessions late in the period. And although the Cougars were outrebounded 25-13 in the first 20 minutes of action, they did shoot 53% from the field, allowing them to take a 35-28 lead at the half.

Unfortunately it appeared Charleston left the offense in the locker room for the first five minutes of the second half, as W&M went on a 10-0 run to momentarily take the lead. A basket by Miller finally ended the Cougar drought. After Riller drained a couple of technical fouls and Miller answered from long range CofC regained the lead (42-38).

With help from 4200 fans the Cougars found their late game mojo, putting together a 15-7 run for a 57-47 advantage with 6:32 remaining. W&M had no answers, coming up short offensively in the final 20 minutes of play. The Tribe made just 1 of 9 from long range, while shooting 36% from the field. Knight was their lone weapon, scoring a game high 28 points to go along with a game best 18 rebounds. The Tribe fall to 8-4 in the league and 16-9 overall.

After setting a new best for himself, Galloway said the difference lately is enjoying the game. "I'm having a lot of fun. Earlier in the year, I was putting a lot of pressure and stress on myself to preform, to help Grant out, and help the team. I felt like I just changed my mindset. I'm having more fun and being a little bit more childish, which is my personality out on the court."

Riller echoed Galloway's sentiment, adding he has all the right stuff, and is continuing to prove it. "He came out and did what everyone knows he is capable of doing. Hitting shots, defending and getting to the basket. It was a big game and we needed it from him, and he delivered."

The Cougars will celebrate the College of Charleston's 250th Anniversary and don throwback uniforms against former Southern Conference rival Elon (8-17, 4-8 CAA) on Saturday 4 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. Tickets for the #CofC250 game can be purchased by calling (843) 953-COFC or going online at: www.CofCSports.com/tickets

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