Last night, the College of Charleston Men’s Basketball team made a short hop across the pond, to the North Charleston Coliseum for the CAA Tournament.
Although the tourney is still located in the Cougars’ backyard, the team entered this year’s tourney under different circumstances.
No longer the #1 seed as they were a year prior, the guys walked into the Coliseum with something to prove. The #3 seed Cougars did just that last night, as they dominated the #6 seed Drexel Dragons from start to finish.
After Drexel scored the game’s opening basket, they never managed to lead again. They played from behind the dominant Cougars all game long, as the “home” team nursed a nearly 10 point lead all throughout the first half.
The College ended the first period of play with a 14 point cushion. That margin was built up largely thanks to the work of the usual heroes, Grant Riller and Jarrell Brantley. Riller went for 12 of his total 24 points in the half, on an efficient 5-9 clip. Brantley had 7 points of his own in this time, on 50% shooting from the floor. The dynamic duo stayed aggressive defensively in the half, snatching 2 steals each.
Despite the Dragons’ best efforts, the second half was more of the same. The score was a bit tighter in this time, but the College’s hustle did not fade. The team’s depth showed in this game, where it felt as though a different Cougar hit the deck after a loose ball every few minutes. Despite the Cougars only outscoring Drexel by 2 points in the second half, the team remained firmly in control and never really took their foot off the gas.
Riller and Brantley nearly replicated their first half stats in the second. Riller finished with 24 points, 6 assists and 3 steals. The Senior forward Brantley totaled 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals of his own. Another key performer of the game was the Dayton transfer, Sam Miller. Miller threw an interesting wrench into the game as an X-factor, scoring an efficient 12 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Having another skillful big man was key in this matchup, against the tall lineups the Dragons were able to push out onto the floor.
With this win, Charleston is now one game closer to realizing their goal of repeating as CAA champs. Next up, a rematch against last year’s runner up, Northeastern.
The Cougars look to continue their run tonight, at the Coliseum at 8:30.