No. 25 VCU Holds Off Riller, Charleston With Second-Half Comeback, 76-71

No. 25 VCU Holds Off Riller, Charleston With Second-Half Comeback, 76-71
Grant Riller had 26 points but CofC falls to 5-6 on the season with a loss to VCU (Source: Al Samuels)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Preseason Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year and College of Charleston senior guard Grant Riller scored a game-high 26 points in a close 76-71 loss to No. 25-ranked VCU on Wednesday night at TD Arena.

VIDEO: CofC drops home game to VCU

The Rams (9-2) were the first ranked team to play on the home floor of the Cougars (5-6) since No. 5 Louisville in 2012. Charleston is now 6-25 all-time versus Top 25 opponents.

CofC led 46-38 at halftime and shot a season-best 13 three-pointers including a 69.2% accuracy in the first half of play. Riller was joined in double figures by teammates Brevin Galloway (15 points) and Zep Jasper (10 points).

VCU used a 13-3 run to start the second half and was led by a double-double performance from Marcus Santos-Silva, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the road win. De'Riante Jenkins and Marcus Evans each had 16.

CofC will close out non-conference play against South Carolina State on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 4 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena, before the start of CAA play on the road at the end of the month. Tickets can still be purchased to the game by calling (843) 953-COFC or going online at: www.CofCSports.com/tickets

POSTGAME NOTES

• For the first time this season, College of Charleston started the lineup of Zep Jasper, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jaylen McManus and Sam Miller (0-1). It marked Miller’s first career start.

• VCU avenged an 83-79 loss to the Cougars a year ago and now leads 5-2 in the all-time series. It was a home-and-home series for both teams, who will see each other again as part of the 2020 ESPN Charleston Classic tournament field next November at TD Arena.

• The Rams were only the third-ever ranked team to play the Cougars in the history of TD Arena (2008–Present) next to No. 5 Louisville in 2012 and No. 9 North Carolina in 2010.

• Grant Riller extended his double-digit scoring streak to 39-consecutive games with a game-high 26 points along with five rebounds and four assists versus the Rams. It marked his eighth 20-point game of the season and 40th of his career. He has now tabulated 2,030 career points to date.

• Brevin Galloway has now turned in back-to-back games in double figures with 15 points on a career-high tying 5-of-9 shooting performance from beyond the arc against VCU.

• For the ninth time of his career, Zep Jasper recorded double figures in scoring with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field versus the Rams.

• Sam Miller registered a near double-double performance with eight points and 12 rebounds against VCU.

• The Cougars scored 46 first-half points, the most in a half this season by the team.

• CofC also shot a season-best 50.0 percent from behind the three-point line (13-of-26) on the wings of five threes from Galloway, three from Riller and two each from Miller and Jasper. Jaylen Richard also contributed a trey in the first half.

POSTGAME QUOTES

College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant

On the game …

“We executed the game plan in the first half, but in the second half, we didn’t handle the press like we needed to. That’s how they (VCU) scored their points. We knew they would thrive off of points off of turnovers. They had a stretch where it was like a 10-0 run. We have to learn from that. It sucks we can’t replay those two minutes (in the second half). We played well enough to win a game like this, but give them credit. They did what they needed to do to win the game.”

College of Charleston Senior Guard Grant Riller

On the game …

“I don’t think we played out of character. I think that’s what we are capable of. Shots fell tonight and we were playing pretty good defense. In the second half, I feel like for a couple of minutes there, we were kind of lackadaisical with the basketball and they kind of ramped up the pressure. It forced us to have turnovers. You have to give credit to them.”

College of Charleston Junior Guard Brevin Galloway

On hitting shots early on …

“The flow of the game. I felt in the beginning of the game, I was getting open, getting to my spot and my shots up for 10 minutes in the first half. Whenever I got my shots, I tried to help the team anyway I could.”

On VCU’s press …

“I wouldn’t say it weared us down. We expected it coming in. Just like Grant (Riller) said, we relaxed a little bit and they made us pay for it.”