CHARLESTON, S.C. – Four College of Charleston players scored in double figures including a team-high 26 points from Grant Riller as Elon escaped TD Arena on Saturday with its third win in a row, 72-65, in Colonial Athletic Association action.
After taking sole possession of the top spot in the league standings with a 68-50 win over William & Mary on Feb. 6, the Cougars (15-10, 9-4 CAA) are now a half game back of first-place Hofstra (18-7, 9-3 CAA).
Graduate senior transfer Marcus Sheffield II led the charge for the Phoenix (9-17, 5-8 CAA) with a game-high 31 points and 12 rebounds. They previously beat Northeastern and UNCW before Saturday’s showdown between the two former Southern Conference rivals, who joined the Colonial in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
After trailing the entire first half, Charleston got within two points with a 10-2 run to go into halftime with Elon up 32-30. The Cougars tied it up three times in the second half of play, but could never get over the hump to pull away from the Phoenix.
Riller had a near double-double with eight rebounds, while Brevin Galloway and Zep Jasper joined him in double figures with 12 and 10 apiece. Osinachi Smart came off the bench and recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
The Cougars will play their next three-straight games on the road starting off with a big showdown at Hofstra on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. (ET) in Hempstead, N.Y. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
• For the 15th-straight game, College of Charleston went with the starting five of Zep Jasper, Grant Riller, Brevin Galloway, Jaylen McManus and Sam Miller (10-5).
• College of Charleston split the regular-season series with Elon, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the series between the two former Southern Conference rivals. It was only the eighth win ever for the Phoenix in the 30-game series.
• Grant Riller led the Cougars with a team-high 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals against Elon. It marked his 14th 20-point outing this season and 46th of his career. He has now scored in double figures in 53-consecutive games and tabulated 2,344 career points to date.
• Zep Jasper also turned in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field against Elon. It marked his 10th of the season and 16th of his career.
• Brevin Galloway extended his double-double scoring streak to a career-best tying five-straight games with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc versus the Phoenix.
• Osinachi Smart recorded his first career double-double with a career-high tying 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench versus Elon. He played only 19 minutes and also went 4-for-5 from the free throw line and had a blocked shot.
• The Cougars donned throwback uniforms replicating those worn by former College of Charleston men’s basketball teams in the 1960s.
• CofC had a sellout crowd of 5,108 fans in attendance against Elon at TD Arena – the 10th largest all-time crowd in program history in the venue.
College of Charleston Head Coach Earl Grant
On the game …
“The thrill of victory and agony of defeat. You have to give Elon credit. I felt like we got a lot better over the last 10 days. Some of the plays and effort they made, led to kick-out threes and big baskets for them. They did what they needed to do. Certainly disappointing that we didn’t win the game. We had a great crowd. We did play with some effort. They did some many things which led to winning. In a close possession game, we fouled them twice on threes late in the stretch and that’s six points. Coach (Schrage) had his team ready to play. I thought (Marcus) Sheffield being a big-time transfer made an impact today with the way he played. We have to learn from it, and hopefully, it will help us grow as we continue the season.”
On a hangover from the win on Thursday night against William & Mary …
“You never know. A lot times winning makes you weak. Losing makes you stronger, because it’s so painful. You go back-and-forth through those emotions. What’s more important is, ‘how do you handle both the winning and losing?’ We played really well on Thursday night, did some preparation yesterday and came up short today. I don’t know the answer. But, I do know that winning can make you a little weak.”
College of Charleston Senior Guard Grant Riller
On the loss …
“No hangover at all. We celebrated (the win against William & Mary on Thursday) and got to work the next day. In this league, you can lose to anybody, so they just played harder tonight and got the win that’s all.”
College of Charleston Junior Center/Forward Osinachi Smart
On his first career double-double …