Three players scored in double figures including a game-high 24 points from Jarrell Brantley as College of Charleston toppled Towson, 73-62, in both team’s Colonial Athletic Association opener on Saturday at TD Arena.
The Cougars (10-3, 1-0 CAA) have now won eight of their last nine games, while the Tigers (10-4, 0-1) lost their third straight.
Brantley, who missed the first 10 games of the season with a knee injury, went 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc in his first start in the last three games back for the preseason favorite Cougars.
Joe Chealey added 21 points and Grant Riller 16. The victory also marked CofC’s 100th win at TD Arena – one of the toughest places to play in college basketball, since the venue opened in 2008.
It was an important matchup as both squads were picked to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the preseason CAA poll.
The Cougars led by two at halftime, 36-34, and never looked back in the second half. They shot a near season-best 51.2 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from long range.
Towson was led in scoring by Eddie Keith II, who had 20 points in the loss.
Up next, CofC will ring in the New Year versus Delaware (8-6, 1-0 CAA) on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-COFC or online at: www.CofCSports.com/tickets
• For the first time this season, College of Charleston started Joe Chealey, Grant Riller, Cameron Johnson, Jarrell Brantley and Nick Harris. It marked Brantley’s first start this season in only three games back from a knee injury.
• With the win, CofC took a one-game lead in the all-time series with Towson. The Cougars have now won the last five out of six games in the series.
• The Cougars are now 4-1 all-time in CAA openers since joining the league in July of 2013.
• The program also picked up win No. 100 at TD Arena since the venue opened in 2008.
• Jarrell Brantley recorded his eighth career 20-point game with a game-high 24 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and a career-best four three-pointers made against Towson.
• Joe Chealey turned in his 19th career 20-point performance and fourth of the season with 21 points versus Towson. He also grabbed a team-high tying seven rebounds.
• Grant Riller extended his current double-digit scoring streak to seven-straight games with 16 points and a career-high tying four assists against Towson.
• CofC last had two players score 20 points in a single game when Jarrell Brantley (20 points) and Joe Chealey (21 points) did so against UNCW in the CAA championship game on March 6, 2017 at the North Charleston Coliseum.
• The Cougars shot 51.2 percent from the floor (21-of-41) against the Tigers, which was their second-best shooting percentage from the field this season behind 51.7 percent against North Greenville on Dec. 10.
• Against the nation’s No. 9-ranked squad in three-point field-goal percentage defense coming into the game (28.1%), CofC shot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc (9-of-21) against the Tigers’ defense.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
“It was a good game for our players. We had really good energy and it was a great effort against a good team. I am happy that we started CAA play with a win. It was the first time we played a CAA opener at home since I’ve been here. We had a great crowd with over 4,000 people. If we can continue to build on that, we can make this place one of the toughest places to play in the CAA. I’m really proud that the crowd showed up today and supported us. Our players played with a lot of energy, were unselfish and played with toughness.”
On the play of Jarrell Brantley …
“He’s a great player and a good teammate. He has been trying to find a way to get back into a rhythm. It’s his third game back and I think he found some of his rhythm. He played with a lot of confidence and had a good balance of inside-out. His teammates were looking for him. He played well and we need him to continue to do that.”
On playing one of the top teams in the league first …
“We know it’s a new season. It’s everyone’s first game. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. Just so happen we played a team that is supposed to be at the top of the league and right away. We have a another game coming up (against Delaware) and it will be a challenge again like this one. We need to focus on the basic things – try to continue to get better every day and let the chips fall as they may.”
College of Charleston Junior Forward Jarrell Brantley
On his play in only his third game back …
“It was fun. A lot of the guys and coaches did a good job of pushing me to get into a rhythm and telling me to attack and stay confident. It was more so, because it was my first full week of practice. I got to get back out there with the guys and got more confident. That played a bigger role (in my play tonight).”
College of Charleston Senior Guard Joe Chealey
On the win over Towson …
“It was a good win. You always want to start on a good foot. We are 1-0 right now. But, we have a quick turnaround and it’s on to the next one. It’s conference play.”
On the physical play of Towson early in the first half …
“We expected them to be physical. They’ve been physical since I’ve been in college. We just kind of settled in. We probably had a few pre-game jitters with it being the first conference game and having Jarrell back. We just trusted our game plan.”