Three players scored in double figures including 18 points from Joe Chealey as College of Charleston topped former Southern Conference rival Western Carolina, 69-60, on Thursday night at TD Arena.
It was the first game at home for the Cougars (5-2) since the season opener on Nov. 10. Chealey was joined in double figures by Grant Riller who had 17 and Cameron Johnson with 11.
After a slow start for both teams from the field and behind the three-point arc, Charleston got into a rhythm of back-to-back threes from Johnson and Chealey. WCU kept it close and tied up the contest, 27-27, with about a minute left before the break.
Marquise Pointer gave the Cougars momentum after hitting a half-court shot at the buzzer to give CofC a 35-30 lead at halftime.
Charleston used a 27-11 run that spanned both halves and led 54-38 with 14 minutes left. Jaylen McManus scored all eight of his points, and Riller added six during the stretch.
CofC has now won the last six-straight meetings with the Catamounts (2-6) in the all-time series. Western Carolina was led in scoring by Mike Amius, who registered a game-high 22 points, and Marc Gosselin, who turned in a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cougars will usher in the month of December with a Monday, Dec. 4 tilt versus High Point at 7 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-COFC or online at: www.CofCSports.com/tickets
• College of Charleston used the starting lineup of Joe Chealey, Grant Riller, Cameron Johnson, Jaylen McManus and Nick Harris. It marked Riller’s first start after missing the Sam Houston State game on Nov. 23 and coming off the bench versus Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 25 at the Great Alaska Shootout.
• With the win, the Cougars won their sixth-straight and now lead 22-7 in the all-time series with Western Carolina. They are now an undefeated 11-0 versus Southern Conference opponents since joining the Colonial Athletic Association in July of 2013.
• Joe Chealey scored a team-high 18 points against the Catamounts to extend his double-digit scoring streak to 24-consecutive games since the end of the 2016-17 season. It was his seventh-straight of the current season. Chealey also added seven assists and eight rebounds to his stat line.
• Grant Riller notched 17 points versus Western Carolina to mark his fourth double-figure scoring game of the season.
• Cameron Johnson registered 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc against Western Carolina. It marked his third double-figure game this season.
• The Cougars went to the free throw line a season-high 36 times and made a season-best 24 from charity against the Catamounts.
• CofC defensively held WCU to an opponent season-low 20.8 shooting percentage from behind the three-point arc (5-of-24).
• Osinachi Smart came off the bench and recorded career highs in points (7), rebounds (10) and minutes played (26) versus Western Carolina.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
“There were a lot of great performances by a lot of different players tonight. It was a total team effort and a very unselfish performance by us again. We played really well for about 34 minutes. We talked about it at the end of the game, we kind of let down our guard and didn’t play to our standards for the last four-to-five minutes. I’m really happy for our players. We have not played at home in 20 days and in the last five games. I thought we did a really good job of competing at a high level.”
On Marquise Pointer’s half-court buzzer beater before halftime …
“It was great momentum for us going into the locker room. Obviously, I always tell you, ‘he’s a winner.’ He just does winning things and he finds ways to help the team in any way that he can. It was a big shot. We needed that shot, because we had about a minute and 20 seconds in there against a zone where we just got out of character and made a few turnovers. We were up nine and they cut it back down to two. We had a bad patch with unforced turnovers. That shot was huge and it gave us a good jolt of energy going into the half.”
College of Charleston Senior Guard Joe Chealey
On the game …
“It was a good win for us. We came out strong in the second half. Obviously, we are happy about the win, but, we felt we could have played better down the stretch. It’s best to learn from a win (instead of a loss) and we are glad we got the W tonight.”
On the second-half play of Jaylen McManus …
“I am happy some of those shots fell for him (in the second half). He is super talented and he just needed an opportunity. He will be really essential for us moving forward to win some games.”
College of Charleston Sophomore Guard Grant Riller
On being back home after a long road stretch …
“It feels good to be back. It’s been 20 days since we played at home. We just wanted to come back from the trip (to Alaska), try to play our hearts out for the fans and give them a good show.”