Cougars Top Providence Behind Riller’s Game-High 29 Points

Cougars Top Providence Behind Riller’s Game-High 29 Points
Grant Riller had 29 points to lead the College of Charleston to a win over Providence on Friday (Source: CofC Athletics)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Grant Riller scored a game-and season-high 29 points as College of Charleston claimed its first-ever win against Providence, 63-55, in the consolation round of the Wooden Legacy held on Friday at Anaheim Arena.

The Cougars (4-3) previously met the Friars (4-4) twice in the all-time series between the two schools in the first round of the 1995 and 2003 Postseason NIT.

Sixteen years later, and on a neutral court, Charleston was able to pick up its first victory against the BIG EAST Conference school.

Riller registered 14 points in the second half of play as the Cougars overcame a 29-27 halftime deficit. He also added five rebounds and five assists.

A 3-pointer by Brevin Galloway gave CofC its first lead of the game, 37-34, with 15:51 remaining in regulation. He ended the game with eight points going perfect from beyond the arc (2-of-2) and free throw line (2-for-2).

Providence’s David Duke, who had 22 points, tied the ballgame with his own 3-pointer until a long-range trey by Riller gave the Cougars the lead for good.

Charleston also got contributions from Jaylen McManus, who had a near double-double with eight points and eight rebounds, and Osinachi Smart with a career-high nine points and season-best eight rebounds.

The Cougars will have tomorrow off to enjoy Disneyland and face the winner of Pepperdine or UCF in the fifth-place game on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 4:00 p.m. (ET) / 1:00 p.m. (PT) on ESPNU.

POSTGAME NOTES

• For the seventh-consecutive game, College of Charleston started Zep Jasper, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jaylen McManus and Osinachi Smart (4-3).

• With the win, College of Charleston picked up its first-ever win in the three-game, all-time series with Providence. It was the program’s first win against a team from the BIG EAST Conference since beating Villanova in the championship game of the 2002 Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska.

• Grant Riller registered a season-high 29 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 9-of-10 shooting from the charity stripe against Providence. He extended his double-digit scoring streak to 35 consecutive games. It marked his 37th career 20-point game and fifth of the season. Riller moved into third all-time on the school’s career scoring list with 1,943 career points to date. Prior to the game, he was tied for third with 2019 NBA Draft pick and former CofC great Jarrell Brantley (2015-19).

• Osinachi Smart had a career game against Providence with a career-high nine points and season-high eight rebounds including three on the offensive end. He also shot 3-for-5 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line.

• The Cougars outrebounded the Friars, 37-25 (+12). It was the second time this season they won the battle of the boards next to +12 versus USC Upstate on Nov. 5.

• The CofC defense held Providence to its lowest scoring output of the season and an opponent season-low tying 55 points next to 55 points versus USC Upstate.

POSTGAME QUOTES

College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant

On the win …

“I’m proud of my players for bouncing back after a tough loss against Wake Forest. We thought we defended well enough to win that game. We came up short and didn’t make enough plays. We knew Providence would be a physical, tough game to play. Coach (Ed) Cooley has done a great job with that program and has a physical team and athletic guys. We knew it would be a war. I was happy our guys showed up and were ready to battle. They accepted the challenge.”

On making adjustments at halftime …

“The first eight minutes, we had to adjust to their physicality. There was a bunch of posting and physical play. I was trying to figure out different guys to substitute. I made up my mind that I was going to play more guys, so we could try to play defense the way we needed to and not worrying about having my main players in. We were trying to get energy off the bench, so we could play hard and compete the whole game. At times, I put three freshmen out there and they gave us a great lift for two-to-three minutes. We were able to play good basketball.”

On playing another tough team on Sunday …

“We knew coming into this tournament there were going to be some battles. Yesterday, we learned from the downs, and today, we learned from the ups.”