CHARLESTON, S.C. – Grant Riller scored a game-high 33 points as College of Charleston topped preseason Colonial Athletic Association favorite Northeastern in an 88-79 overtime thriller before a season-high crowd of 4,867 fans at TD Arena.
The defending champion Cougars (21-7, 10-5 CAA) split the regular-season series between the two schools and avenged a 69-60 road loss to the Huskies (16-10, 10-4 CAA) in mid-January.
Riller, who went 11-of-16 from the field, drilled two 3-pointers in OT to mark his second-straight game with 30-or-more points. He scored a career-high and CofC NCAA Division I record 43 points versus Hofstra on Thursday.
The Cougars trailed NU, 52-42, in the second half, but rallied to take a 69-67 lead with 1:04 remaining in regulation.
A Jordan Roland layup with 29 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 69-69. College of Charleston’s Sam Miller got off a 3-point attempt at the buzzer, but it rimmed out and the teams headed to the extra period.
Jarrell Brantley turned in his ninth double-double of the season with a season-high tying 27 points and 11 rebounds, while Brevin Galloway and Marquise Pointer each added eight points to the winning cause.
Vasa Pusica was one of four Huskies in double figures with 25 points followed by Bolden Brace with 13, Donnell Gresham with 12 and Anthony Green with 10. NU entered the game with the conference’s longest win streak at five games.
The Cougars make one last regular-season road trip in conference play to William & Mary (10-16, 6-8 CAA) on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. (ET) in Williamsburg, Va., and Elon (8-19, 4-10 CAA) on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. (ET) in Elon, N.C.
• College of Charleston went with the starting five of Marquise Pointer, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jarrell Brantley and Nick Harris for the 14th time this season (9-5).
• With the win, College of Charleston reclaims a one-point edge in the all-time series with Northeastern, 7-6. The Cougars are now 3-3 lifetime against the Huskies when playing at TD Arena. They have also won five of the last six games in the series.
• It was the first overtime game of the season for College of Charleston and the fourth for Northeastern.
• The Cougars have now scored 83-or-more points in each of their last four CAA games.
• Grant Riller recorded his fifth 30-point game of the season with a game-high 33 points against Northeastern. He also went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Riller has now tabulated 1,700 career points to date and tallied 76 points over the last two games versus Hofstra and NU.
• Jarrell Brantley registered his ninth double-double performance of the season with a season-high tying 27 points and game-high tying 11 rebounds against Northeastern. It marked the 32nd double-double of his career. He has now tabulated 1,807 career points to date and tied former big man Adjehi Baru (2011-15) for fifth all-time in career rebounding with 916 boards. He also made three steals in the ballgame to surpass former great Troy Wheless (1999-03) for 10th all-time in career steals with 143 to date.
• The CofC defense Northeastern to commit 14 turnovers in the game which the Cougars converted into 20 of their 88 points on the night.
• For the second-straight contest, the Cougars shot 90 percent or better from the free throw line – 90.9% (20-of-22) against Northeastern.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
“Another tough battle. I thought Northeastern gave us everything that we could ask for in terms of a battle. They made shots. They were very smart driving the ball and kicking it opposite for threes. Give them a lot of credit. They have a great coach and good players. We have battled with them a lot the last three years. This is the kind of game you would expect. Our team has a lot of fight in ‘em. I think this team is special. We are growing up and learning about ourselves. We got down 10 in the guts of the game with 11 minutes to go. We made some adjustments and played a lot smaller, so we could limit some of our rotations. The guys just kept believing. They kept trusting each other and we found a way to win the game.”
On the team’s down the stretch of the second half that led to overtime …
“We got stops and found a groove offensively with a few things. We found some movement and flow. We got some easier shots. Then the guys were doing a good job of driving, kicking it and finding their teammates. I thought Marquise’s pass to Sam Miller, instead of taking a hard shot at the rim, he drove it and kicked it to Sam who made a huge three. We got stops and got out of transition a bit. Found some rhythm in the half-court offense. We just did a good job of executing down the stretch and staying poised.”
College of Charleston Junior Guard Grant Riller
On the final minutes of the second half and what worked for the team …
“We just got some key stops. Throughout the whole game, there’s going to be ups and downs. They (Northeastern) are a good team. Of course, they are going to make some runs. We got stops when we needed to and made shots when we needed to.”
On his scoring over the last two games …
“I’m just taking what the defense is giving me. Getting to the paint tonight a lot. They were missing (Shawn) Occeus tonight which was good for me and our team (because he is a very good defender). Just taking what the defense gave me and knocking down shots.”
College of Charleston Senior Forward Jarrell Brantley
On the final minutes of the second half and the team making a run …
“We just had to dig deep. This is a good (Northeastern) team. It’s the same team we played in the championship (game last year). They got some fight in them, too. We had to dig deep and come together. The crowd did an amazing job like they always do.”
On the play of Grant Riller in back-to-back games …