Riller Scores Game High 26 Points In Final Outing For Cougars
By: CofC Media / HCS Staff
Grant Riller registered a game-high 26 points and was one of three players in double figures with a game-high 26 points as fourth-seeded College of Charleston fell short to fifth-seeded Delaware, 79-67, in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Hercules Tires Colonial Athletic Association Men's Basketball Championship on Sunday at the Entertainment & Sports Arena.
It was both team's second meeting in a little over a week after the Cougars (17-14) swept the regular-season series with an 80-71 home victory on Feb. 27 at TD Arena.
The Blue Hens (22-10) advanced to Monday's semifinals where they will to face top-seeded and regular-season champion Hofstra.
CofC Head Coach Earl Grant praised the efforts of his players. "I thought our guys played really hard. We came up short tonight. I thought we were able to take some things away from Delaware in the past. Today, they (Delaware) got loose for some shots and they made them."
Riller scored 19 of his points in the second half as Charleston tried to overcome a 32-27 halftime deficit to UD. The three-time All-CAA First Team selection closed out his storied career at The College as the program's second all-time leading scorer and CAA's third all-time leading scorer with 2,474 career points.
CAA All-Defensive Team member Brevin Galloway scored 14 points going 4-for-7 from three-point range when the Cougars' needed big-time baskets to cut Delaware's lead throughout the ballgame. Zep Jasper added 13.
Delaware extended its lead to 41-30 when Dylan Painter scored on a layup and sank 1-of-2 free throws. He ended the night with14 points, while Nate Darling had a team-high 25. Justyn Mutts turned in a double-double performance with 12 points and game-high 11 rebounds.
Riller's 3-pointer with 12:18 left in regulation brought Charleston within four, 47-43, before the Blue Hens pulled away for good.
Coach Grant said Delaware had an answer this time around and knew how to close out the contest. "They (Delaware) did some good things. But, I'm really happy that our guys were able to play with good spirit and never quit. We just didn't have an answer for some of their shots they made down the stretch, when we cut it down to down to four. We just couldn't get any closer than that."
With his time in a Cougar uniform now at and end, Riller reflects on his final season at CofC. "Very emotional. I was kind of dreading this moment the whole season. The whole year, I was trying to make sure I took it day-to-day. Enjoy my last days with my teammates. I'm happy I was able to come back for a fifth year and do it all over again. It's sad it had to end like this, but I'm happy I came back."
Riller closed out his career with a game-high 26 points, four assists and three steals against Delaware in the CAA Quarterfinals. It marked his 18th 20-point game of the season. Riller finished as CofC's second all-time leading scorer with 2,474 career points, which is also third all-time in the CAA's record books behind David Robinson of Navy and Charles Jenkins of Hofstra.
Coach Grant will have a soft spot forever in his heart for the Orlando Native. "As a first-time head coach getting the job at 36 years old. It's September the 2nd and my first call was September the 3rd. Pretty much three weeks to a month later, he said he's coming. He means a lot to me. I'll have his back for the next 40 years, just because he poured a lot into this program."
Coach added, "He's (Riller) leaving the program better than where he found it. He has been very loyal and hardworking. I look forward to fighting for him now, to see what's next, because there are a lot of exciting things coming up. That's a big responsibility for myself and my staff to make sure he gets what he deserves."
Galloway echoed what is possibly the sentiment of the team and the fans at CofC regarding Riller. "I'm excited for that (challenge). It's going to be a new opportunity for me to step-up and show what I can do. It will be tough without this guy (Riller) beside me. I have learned a lot from him as far as how poised he is and how he is under pressure. I think I will be able to do a good job (because of his example)."