Tucker Records 35 Points in Near Flawless Performance
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
In their weekend rubber match in the new CAA format, the College of Charleston picked up the win in game two, downing Drexel 73-68 for a second day in a row victory. After taking the second game at Delaware last weekend, CofC are riding a three game win streak, improving to 5-6 overall and 3-1 in the CAA.
What a difference 24 hours make. After shooting 1 for 7 on Saturday ending up with 3 points, sophomore guard Brenden Tucker shot lights out on Sunday, making good on 13 of 16 from the field, including 5 of 7 from long range to finish with a game high 35 points. He collected 5 steals to go along with 3 rebounds, for an all around stellar game. Tucker was the only Cougar in double figures, with Keegan Harvey coming in off the bench, going 3 of 3 for 8 points.
Tucker knew he was in a zone from his first two points. "To be honest, it was really after the first layup. I knew (it was there). It was great to get my teammates involved as well."
Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant was equally impressed with Tucker's breakout performance. "It came together for him tonight. He's a guy who has played spot minutes for us, playing behind really good players like Grant Riller and Brevin Galloway. Circumstances have put him in a position where he is now a starter. He's starting to find his rhythm. Just a really good player that we thought was a big-time scorer when we recruited him. That's what he did today."
Both teams found the basket starting out, with the score tied at 9 all after four and half minutes gone by. Nearing the midway point a layup by Tucker and a short jumper by Payton Willis put the home team up 20-12 with 11:25 on the clock. Seeking revenge from the last second loss on Saturday, the Dragons regrouped, putting together a 27-9 run that sent them into the locker room up ten (39-29) at the break.
The second half began with the teams trading baskets, before back to back threes by Charleston narrowed the half time margin. Harvey's second long range missile made it 49-45 with just over 13 minutes left to play. That flurry of offense was part of a 26-10 run capped off by a DeAngelo Epps jumper, that put Charleston up 55-49 at the midway mark.
CofC would extend their lead to nine (69-60) with 2:47 remaining before the Dragons' Zach Walton and Camren Wynter lit it up from long range to make it a one possession contest with 37 seconds left to play. Epps sealed the win for the home team, putting in a lay up, followed by two from the foul line with 17 seconds on the clock.
James Butler added two from the line on the other end, but with three seconds left the clock did the Dragons in. Wynter lead Drexel with 19 points, with Walton and Butler close behind with 17 and 16 point respectively. Drexel fall to 5-4 overall and 0-2 in the league.
Going up against a talented team, Coach Grant was happy the Cougars were able to provide a sweep for the home town fans. "There were some ebbs-and-flows in the game. They (Drexel) came out and got up on us in the first half and made tough shots. We were down 10 at the half. We really showed the right type of character coming out in the second half. Working hard and trusting what we were trying to do. I'm happy for the players and happy for the fans that we were able to win against a really good team."
The Cougars continue their CAA homestand playing host to current league leader Northeastern (5-5, 4-0 CAA) in back-to-back games slated for Saturday, Jan. 16 and Sunday, Jan. 17 at TD Arena. Both games will tipoff at 1 p.m. (ET).