Cougars Have Easier Time Holding Off Tigers On Sunday
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
The rematch in the Saturday - Sunday weekend series between the College of Charleston men's basketball team and Towson was decidedly different than the first contest. Less than 24 hours after escaping with a 90-88 double OT win against the Tigers, the Cougars managed to hold off Towson for a 66-53 win at TD Arena on Sunday afternoon.
After the past two weekend series were postponed due to COVID protocols, CofC Head Coach Earl Grant was pleased how his team stepped up against Towson. "I told the guys, 'the sweet sound of victory.' It's a good feeling and a good sound. Coming off a break, we didn't know exactly what to expect. To be able to come out again and compete at a high level and really defend and rebound. It was a good sign for our team, and hopefully, we can build on it."
Despite 15 turnovers and a comfortable double digit lead that shrunk to one possession, Charleston re-grouped, found some offense late, and came out on top, improving to 7-8 on the season and 5-3 in the CAA. Three CofC players scored in double figures, with Zep Jasper leading all scorers with 17 points. Cameron Copeland followed up a solid Saturday showing, coming in off the bench for 14 points. Payton Willis drained 3 of 4 from long range to finish with 13 points.
With back to back wins, and showing signs of improvement in the CAA (5-3), Jasper hopes he and his team mates are gearing up for the road ahead. "I feel we are positioned to make a run. I have great confidence in this team. It's a special group. We just have to keep going and keep climbing. We have to stay humble at all times. By staying humble ,you stay level headed."
Two quick turnovers by CofC allowed Towson to go up 6-0 inside the first two minutes of play. When Jasper and Willis scored from beyond the arc, Charleston trailed 8-6 with 16:51 left to in the first period. A little more than a minute later a short jumper by Willis put the Cougars ahead, and they would keep lead throughout the contest.
When Willis connected from long range with 4:27 on the clock, the home team earned their biggest margin (34-17) in the game. They would head into the locker room up 15 points at the break. Another jumper by Jasper at the start of second half matched their biggest lead.
CofC would maintain a double digit lead over the next eight minutes, with the Tigers slowly chipping away until they pulled within three points (47-44) on a layup by Zane Martin. The Cougars re-grouped, finding the double digit advantage on Willis' jumper under the four minute mark.
Martin who was on fire Saturday, leading all scorers with 34 points, was held in check on Sunday, finishing with 12 points for the visitors. Nicolas Timberlake lead the Tigers with 13, with Charles Thompson adding 11 points. Towson fall to 2-8 in league play, and 3-12 overall.
The Tigers did manage to score 24 points in the paint, including 14 points second chance points. What hurt Towson, was shooting 30 percent from the field, making just 3 of 18 from beyond the arc. CofC finished shooting 52 percent from the field, adding 8 of 13 from long distance.
Following a hard fought win on Saturday Coach Grant says he's confident moving forward, especially how many players are making a difference. "We had a lot of guys contribute, and a lot of guys step-up and make big plays. I was really proud of the total team effort. I was really proud of the energy the guys played with after a slugfest yesterday. It was a good weekend for us and something we can continue to build on."
Coach Grant knows the Cougars have the potential. "We are two-or-three possessions from being 8-1. Right now, it's all about trying to develop this team, so we can maximize our talents and our abilities." He adds, it's all about how your playing late in the season. "Hopefully, we can be playing the best basketball we can play in the month of March."
The Cougars continue their homestand with another back-to-back weekend with Elon (3-6, 0-5 CAA) on Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14 at TD Arena. Both games are set to tip-off at 1:00 p.m. (ET)and will be broadcast on FloSports.