BOSTON, Mass. (AP) – Grant Riller scored a team-high 17 points as defending Colonial Athletic Association champion College of Charleston fell to preseason favorite Northeastern, 69-60, at Matthews Arena.
The Huskies (10-8, 4-2 CAA) avenged four-straight losses in the series to the Cougars (14-5, 3-3 CAA) including in the CAA Championship Game last March with a trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Both teams were tied at 23-23 at halftime after a turnover-plagued first half by both CofC and Northeastern. For the game, the Cougars committed 17, which the Huskies converted into 15 points.
Jarrell Brantley was the only other Charleston player in double figures with 13 points, while NU was led in scoring by Vasa Pusica who had a game-high 21.
The Huskies led by as many as 16 with 13:01 left in regulation and CofC managed to cut it down to five late in the second half with play from its bench.
It was the first meeting this season between the preseason No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the league and the Cougars will face another big test in unbeaten Hofstra (16-3, 6-0 CAA) on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. (ET) in Hempstead, N.Y.
• For the sixth-straight conference game, College of Charleston went with the starting lineup of Marquise Pointer, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jarrell Brantley and Nick Harris (3-3).
• Northeastern snapped a four-game losing skid in the all-time series with College of Charleston. The series once again is tied at 6-6. The Cougars are now 3-3 lifetime when playing at historic Matthews Arena.
• Grant Riller recorded a team-high 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and making 6-of-8 from the free throw line at Northeastern. He has now scored in double figures in the last 14-straight games.
• Jarrell Brantley extended his double-digit scoring streak to 19-consecutive games with 13 points and four rebounds before fouling out of the game at Northeastern.
• Freshman guard Jaylen Richard came off the bench and contributed nine points and two steals in only 16 minutes of action at Northeastern.
• Junior forward Sam Miller registered eight points, five rebounds and one blocked shot in a season-high 22 minutes of play at Northeastern.
• The Cougars made a season-high 17 turnovers against the Huskies – the most in a conference game this season and the second most all year.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
“In the first half, we played great basketball in terms of defensively. Doing what we wanted to do and taking them (Northeastern) out of their game plan. We held them to 23 points – 23 points was with them converting on some of our turnovers. We had 10 turnovers in the first half and we still only gave up 23 points. We played hard and with a lot of energy in the first half. But, 17 turnovers in the game. Certainly, it is hard to win that way. We knew they were going to do different things. When we threw the ball into the post, we talked about being patient. We didn’t do a good job against the post trap by getting it out of there. Some of it led to offense.”
On Northeastern’s disruption to CofC’s inside game …
“We all could have done a better job of attacking it. Certainly we were prepared for it. Both of those guys (Jarrell Brantley and Nick Harris) are pretty good with the ball. Tonight you have to give Northeastern credit. They disrupted us when we threw it into the post and it led to some offense.”
On Sam Miller and Jaylen Richard’s contributions off the bench …