Riller's Streak of Double Digit Scoring Comes To An End
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
The College of Charleston men's basketball team were hoping their road trip up north would result in them firmly taking over first place in the CAA. But that dream quickly got derailed at Hofstra this past Thursday, and became even more of a nightmare when the Cougars came up flat Saturday afternoon, falling to Northeastern 65-51. CofC have now lost three straight falling to 15-12 overall and 9-6 in the conference.
Less than 36 hours after a 76-63 loss to Hofstra, the Cougars met with an even chillier reception in Boston as the Huskies held CofC to just 18 second half points, after shooting just 29% in the final period. Four Northeastern players scored in double figures including a game-high 18 from Maxime Boursiquot. The Huskies have now won back-to-back games in conference play, and improve to .500 in both standings (13-13,7-7 CAA).
Averaging just 57 points over their past two contests, CofC Head Coach has seen a trend. "The last two-or-three games, I haven't seen the energy level and the passion that I need to see." Coach Grant sees some promise from the bench. "I give the group that I put in the last three and a half minutes of the game credit. They showed great spirit and great fight. Had a lot of deflections and did some good things. That was a positive. We have to find a way to get everybody one-to-13 giving that type of energy on every possession."
The Cougars were just outplayed by the Huskies, especially during the final 15 minutes of play. With the scored tied at 33 all at the half, and 45-43 in favor of the home team, Northeastern went on a 17-0 run, leaving CofC scoreless for over eight minutes as NU built a unsurmountable 19 point advantage.
The stats all favored NU, as they outrebounded CofC 36-24, outscoring the Cougars 34-12 in the paint. The Cougars turned the ball over 18 times. With no mid-week game due to a bye week, Coach Grant says they have several things to work on. "That is something we have to really improve on this next week, and continue to get better with our defensive rebounding."
CofC Senior guard Grant Riller saw his streak of 54 games including last season of scoring in double figures come to end in Boston. Riller finished with nine points making just 4 of 12 from the field. Zep Jasper lead the Cougars with 10 points including two from long range. Osinachi Smart grabbed a team high six rebounds.
Coach Grant doesn't want this group of players to go out this way. "This team is very capable. We haven't played up to our ability here in the last few games, but we still have time to make some corrections and see if we can finish strong."
With three game remaining on the season and the opening tournament game Grant added, "We have four seniors coming down the final stretch of their careers. We are only promised four games, but we are hoping we are playing more than four. This team is very capable."
Charleston remains on the road, but will have a one-game bye week to regroup and prep for its next road game at UNCW on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. (ET).