Riller Fuels Cougars’ 74-55 Victory Over USC Upstate In Season Opener

Riller Fuels Cougars’ 74-55 Victory Over USC Upstate In Season Opener
Grant Riller scored 26 points as the College of Charleston won their season opener over USC Upstate (Source: CofC Athletics)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The College of Charleston men’s basketball team officially opened the college basketball season with a 74-55 victory over USC Upstate on Tuesday night before an opening-night crowd of 4,014 fans at TD Arena.

VIDEO: CofC wins opener over USC Upstate

Preseason Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year Grant Riller poured in a game-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. He moved into sixth all-time on the school’s career scoring list surpassing former great Sam Meade (1970-74). Riller has now tabulated 1,822 career points to date and is chasing the school record this season held by 2011 NBA Draft pick Andrew Goudelock (2,571).

Joining him in double figures was Brevin Galloway with 10 for the Cougars (1-0). Sam Miller came off the bench and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in the winning effort.

The Spartans (0-1) were led in scoring by 14 points from Tommy Bruner and 13 points and eight rebounds from Brandon Martin, son of South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin, who was in attendance at the game.

The Cougars will continue their three-game homestand with 2019 NCAA Tournament participant Georgia State on Nov. 9 at TD Arena. Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-COFC or online at:


• College of Charleston went with the opening night starting five of Zep Jasper, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jaylen McManus and Osinachi Smart. It was McManus’ 15th career start and Smart’s first career start.

• With the win, the Cougars improve to 16-7 all-time versus USC Upstate (formerly USC Spartanburg) and 2-0 in both programs’ NCAA Division I Era.

• CofC is now 17-2 all-time in home openers since its first season as a NCAA Division I member in 1991-92. In the Earl Grant Era, the Cougars are a perfect 6-0 in season openers.

• Grant Riller recorded a game-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field against USC Upstate. It marked his 33rd career 20-point game. He moved past former CofC great Sam Meade (1,812 from 1970-74) for sixth all-time on the school’s career scoring list. Riller has now tabulated 1,822 points to date. He is currently on a 29-game consecutive double-figure scoring streak dating back to the 2018-19 season.

• Brevin Galloway turned in his 14th career double-figure scoring game with 10 points including a perfect 4-for-4 performance from the free throw line versus the Spartans.

• Sam Miller came off the bench and registered a near double-double with eight points and a career-high 14 rebounds against USC Upstate.

• The November 5th game against USC Upstate marked the earliest start in program history.


College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant

On the game …

“Give USC Upstate credit. They came to play. They did some good things in the first 10 minutes of the game by rebounding the ball. We made them miss, but they had seven offensive rebounds in the first half. We corrected that at halftime. They had one in the second half. The big key to the game was for us to hold them to 19-to-20 points in the second half. It also had to do with defensive rebounding and finishing the possession. I'm proud of our guys’ effort. I thought we did some good things. But, there are still a lot of things we can learn and clean up for the next one.”

College of Charleston Senior Guard Grant Riller

On the first game of the season …

“It felt good. We waited all summer for this. It was good to get back out there. Obviously, we were a little nervous with the first game of the year. Once we got comfortable and settled down, everything took care of itself.”

On the difference for the team in the second half …

“We focused on the glass more. They (USC Upstate) got us on a lot of offensive rebounds in the first half that led to extra shots. Once we limited that, we got more stops. One shot and done.”

College of Charleston Senior Forward Sam Miller

On his play in the second half …

“I was trying to focus on doing my job on defense first. Coach Grant really likes his 5’s to be the anchor on defense. I am out there trying to talk and do my job a lot. (Associate Head) Coach J.D. Powell had been on me about rebounding, so I tried to make that a point in hitting the glass tonight.”