WILLIAMSBURG, VA - William & Mary held off College of Charleston in a 114-104 overtime thriller in both teams' regular-season finale in Colonial Athletic Association play on Saturday at Kaplan Arena.
Grant Riller, who scored a team-high 29 points, buried a 3-point at the buzzer to send the game into overtime as the Cougars (23-7, 14-4 CAA) outscored the Tribe 18-7 down the stretch to pull within 76-74.
Preseason CAA Player of the Year Joe Chealey knocked down free throws and two of the four 3-pointers in the final seconds of regulation that the knotted the game at 95-95. CofC had trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half.
Chealey was one of four Charleston players in double figures with 24 points, while Jarrell Brantley turned in a double-double with 23 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Cameron Johnson added 20.
In OT, William & Mary (18-11, 11-7 CAA) took the lead for good with a 7-0 run and ended the Cougars' 11-game win streak. The Tribe was led in scoring by a game-and career-high 30 points from David Cohn on Senior Night.
The No. 1-seeded Cougars will face the No. 8 or No. 9 seed (still to be determined) in the quarterfinals of the CAA Men's Basketball Championship presented by Jersey Mike's on Sunday, March 4 at noon (ET) at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, N.C. The tournament runs March 3-6 at the venue. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketmaster.com or at the North Charleston Coliseum Box Office.
• For the first time this season, the College of Charleston used the starting five of Joe Chealey, Grant Riller, Cameron Johnson, Jaylen McManus and Jarrell Brantley. It marked the 13th career start for McManus.
• William & Mary now leads 7-4 in the all-time series with College of Charleston. The Tribe has won all five meetings when both teams play at Kaplan Arena since the Cougars joined the Colonial in July of 2013.
• The Cougars have now played in four overtime games this season and gone 2-2 in those extra period games.
• Grant Riller scored a team-high 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc at William & Mary. It marked his 12th game this season with 20-or-more points in a single game. He has now tabulated 994 career points to date and extended his double-digit scoring streak to eight games.
• Jarrell Brantley recorded his 20th career double-double with 23 points and a game-high 12 rebounds at William & Mary. It marked his 16th career 20-point game and third double-double of the season.
• Cameron Johnson registered his fourth career 20-point game with 20 points on a season-best four three-pointers at William & Mary.
• CofC went 23-of-29 from the free throw line versus the Tribe. The Cougars' 23 made free throws were the second most made in a single game this season.
• Joe Chealey scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half and overtime at William & Mary. It marked his 10th 20-point game of the season and 25th of his career. He also added five assists and a season-high tying three steals. Chealey has tabulated 1,755 career points to date which ranks fifth all-time in program history.
• The Cougars turned in their first 100+ point game in regular-season play since a 100-87 victory over Georgia Southern at TD Arena (then Carolina First Arena) on Jan. 10, 2009. CofC scored 118 points versus Allen University in exhibition play last season.
• For the second-consecutive game, the Cougars drained 10-or-more three-pointers – (11) at William & Mary and (17) versus Elon.
• For the second-straight year, CofC finishes the CAA regular season with a 14-4 record under fourth-year head coach Earl Grant.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
"I told the guys it would be a hard challenge. It's always hard to play here. We knew the crowd would be big. We needed to have some poise. In the first half, we broke down a few times. We wanted to take away their layups. We broke down on our game plan whether it be layups or set plays for threes. We didn't stick to our assignment. In the second half, I saw about 10-12 minutes where we showed a lot of heart. We were down 16 and we outscored them 30-to-10 in an eight minute segment. I was proud of their effort and how they hung with it. I was more disappointed that we weren't able to sustain for a longer period of time with our game plan, because 114 points is a lot of points."
On the strategy of the last play to send it into overtime …