Charleston advances in classic fashion

A stifling defensive performance propelled the College of Charleston men’s basketball team to the winners’ bracket of the Charleston Classic with a 60-47 win over Boise State on Thursday night (Nov. 17).

Second team all-CAA selection Cameron Johnson hit a trio of three pointers in the Cougars win over the Broncos. (Photo by Michael Wiser)

Cameron Johnson hit a trio of three pointers in the win over Boise State. (Photo by Michael Wiser)

The Cougars got off to a slow start offensively, but a 25-9 run to close out the first half led to a 10-point lead at the break. Boise State cut the lead to 30-26 in the opening minutes of the second half, but Charleston held them scoreless for the following five minutes to build a double-digit lead.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Charleston guard Joe Chealey. “We’ve got to withstand theirs and trust that you’re going to get on yours. Trust the process, that’s that coach has been preaching all year so that’s kind of what we do.”

Led by Chealey (15 points), the Charleston back court featured four scorers with at least eight points; Cameron Johnson (nine points), Marquise Pointer (eight points) and Peyton Hulsey (eight points).

“The guys are being really unselfish,” said Charleston head coach Earl Grant. “I’m proud to coach a team that will be that selfless.”

The College is 3-3 in two previous appearances in the Charleston Classic (2008, 2012), never advancing beyond the semi-final round.

Joe Chealey has double figures in scoring in each of Charleston's first three games. (Photo by Micheal Wiser)

Joe Chealey has double figures in scoring in each of Charleston’s first three games. (Photo by Micheal Wiser)

“Now it’s just moving onto the next one,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to look ahead and slip up and end up with a loss.”

Without any slip ups, the Cougars are 3-0 for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Next up is a semi-final match up with University of Central Florida on Friday (Nov. 18, 9:30 p.m.) at TD Arena. The game will also be available on ESPNU. UCF is led by 7-foot-6 center Tacko Falls, averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds per game this season.

“I saw him walking through the hall,” Chealey said. “It’s kind of hard not to notice him.”

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On a cold January evening in the winter of 2004, Sam Oleksak realized his dream. As a mere fourth grader, he had the chance to announce a high school basketball game for his hometown television station. In the hopes of one day becoming a sports pundit, Sam began at Cisternyard News in Fall 2014. He now serves as the Sports Editor on staff and also makes frequent appearances on Cisternyard Radio.

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