On Saturday, the College of Charleston Men’s basketball team improved to 10-0 in TD Arena when they defeated Hofstra 76-70.
Going into this Saturday’s matinee, Hofstra sat just one spot above the College of Charleston in the CAA standings, at 3 and 4, respectively. As the season begins to shift into its latter portion, each and every conference game becomes more and more significant as records begin to solidify.
The Cougars came out of the gate slower than usual as they continued their quest to keep their home record unblemished.
As the majority of the roster struggled to find any rhythm with their shooting, the Cougars relied heavily on the efficient play of Grant Riller (15 points, 7-8 shooting) and Joe Chealey (7 points, 3-4 shooting).
Although together they combined for 22 of the 31 Charleston first-half points, missing just one shot each, it just wasn’t enough to get things going early on. The rest of the team’s shooting woes plagued the first half, as they shot 4-16 from the floor, and the Cougars went into the locker room facing a 40-31 deficit.
After being outscored by nine on their home floor in the opening period, the College of Charleston came out for the second half ready to take this game back by force.
The defense seemed to tighten up and correct many of their mistakes from early in the game, while the offense continued to flourish under the supervision of Riller and Chealey.
The Cougars dominated the pace of this half by dictating the flow of the game on both sides of the court. Chealey, who played well in the first half, kicked things up a notch after the break.
Chealey was scorching hot in the second half, scoring 26 of his career-high 33 points after half-time. He did so by maintaining his efficient shot selection, missing just three shots in the second half and by becoming a frequent visitor of the charity stripe, sinking a whopping 14 free throws.
Riller poured in another 10 points, bringing his total on the night to 25, a healthy contribution from the starting shooting guard.
Thanks to these monstrous offensive outputs, the College of Charleston was able to tie the game back up midway through the second half. Following a made Chealey three-pointer, the Cougars held the lead for the final four minutes of regulation and until the final buzzer.
This gritty performance was one that defined the essence of this Cougar basketball team. They fought and they clawed back to grab this game and prolong their undefeated season at home. When things get tight throughout the remainder of the season, this performance is one that the guys can fall back on and use to fuel their play.
This CAA win bumped the College of Charleston up one spot in the standings, into a tie with the very team they just defeated, granting them the tiebreaker.
Holding onto a top seed in the CAA is becoming more and more valuable as the season wanes.
Next Thursday, the squad hopes to further improve their conference record in a road game against Delaware.