Six Wins In A Row For Cougars Behind Explosive Second Half From Riller

Six Wins In A Row For Cougars Behind Explosive Second Half From Riller
Grant Riller scored 30 points as the College of Charleston moves to 5-0 in the CAA with a win over Elon (Source: CofC Athletics)

ELON, N.C. – Grant Riller poured in a game-high 30 points including 21 in the second half of play as College of Charleston remained an undefeated 5-0 in Colonial Athletic Association play with a 73-65 victory on the road at Elon on Thursday night at the Schar Center.

The preseason CAA Player of the Year has now turned in back-to-back 30+ point games. He was on fire after the Cougars (11-6, 5-0 CAA) trailed Elon by two at halftime, 38-36.

Riller went 5-for-9 from the floor, 2-for-3 from long range and 9-for-9 from the free throw line in the second half with former teammate Joe Chealey, who played for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, in attendance. He also added a team-high tying seven rebounds.

Brevin Galloway joined Riller in double figures with 12 points as Charleston earned its sixth-straight victory.

Graduate transfer Marcus Sheffield II led the Phoenix (4-13, 0-4 CAA) with 19 points, while Simon Wright had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

William & Mary (12-5, 4-0 CAA) also defeated UNCW on Thursday night to set-up a battle of the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the league on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. (ET) in Williamsburg, Va.

POSTGAME NOTES

• For the seventh-straight game, College of Charleston started Zep Jasper, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jaylen McManus and Sam Miller (6-1).

• With the win, College of Charleston improved to 22-7 in the all-time series with Elon. The Cougars have now won four-straight in the series after sweeping the Phoenix last year in regular-season play.

• Grant Riller turned in back-to-back 30-point games with a game-high 30 points including a perfect 11-for-11 from the throw line at Elon. Riller ranks second all-time in career scoring at The College and has now tallied 2,181 career points to date. It marked his 13th career 30-point game.

• Brevin Galloway extended his career-best double-digit scoring streak to four-consecutive games with 12 points at Elon. He has now scored in double figures in seven of the team’s last eight contests.

• The Cougars went to the free throw line a season-high 33 times making 27 of those attempts.

• Three CofC Basketball Alumni were in attendance at the Elon game – Troy Wheless (’03), Anthony Thomas (’14) and Joe Chealey (’18). Wheless will be inducted into the CofC Athletics Hall of Fame on Jan. 25.

POSTGAME QUOTES

College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant

On the game …

“Obviously, it’s hard to win on the road. I’m really happy for our guys. Anytime we can hold an opponent to 65 points or less, we have a chance to be successful. In the first half, it took us a while to get going. I didn’t think our energy level was where it needed to be to start the game tonight. But, we found a way to get it going. You have to give Elon credit. They have a great group of young guys. Coach Schrage is doing a great job. They have been competing in every game. Most of their games, if you take out one, came down to the last two minutes where they had a chance. I’m happy we found a way to get enough stop and get to the free throw line. We had a big emphasis on getting into the paint.”

On the second-half, big-time play of Grant Riller …

“He made some big-time shots, which he always does. Tonight, we were up one and down one. We moved him to the point a little bit, moved Zep (Jasper) over to the two and put the ball in his hand. We put him in some situations to give him some space and he came up with two big threes to seal the game.”

College of Charleston Senior Guard Grant Riller

On the team’s slow start in the first half …

“We weren’t being aggressors like we usually are. We were lackadaisical on the defensive side of the ball. Coach (Grant) did a good job of getting on us at halftime. We kinda picked our energy up as the game went on and ultimately, I think that’s what led us to the win.”