College of Charleston rallied from down twenty points in the second half to defeat the Northeastern Huskies in overtime, 68-61. The win marks the Cougars third in a row, and the second in which they trailed at the half.
“We needed to show some character,” said head coach Earl Grant after the game. “We needed to show some grit and we needed to fight for the name on the front of our jersey. We did that tonight.”
Northeastern led 34-22 at the half, but the lead grew to as many as 20 in the early going in the second half. Yet, with 11:51 remaining, down 53-35, the Cougars went on their run.
“In the back of my head, I knew we had been in this situation before.” Cameron Johnson said. “Coach (Grant) and our bench never gave up on us. Coach said coming out of halftime, ‘Bring your axe. We will be chopping wood.’ Honestly, I am just so invested in the game, in my head I am thinking, ‘regardless of the score, I am feeling good about where the game is going.’”
Northeastern was held scoreless over their next 11 field goal attempts as the College mounted a 19-0 run to take a 54-53 lead with 2:44 left.
The lead changed hands three times in the closing minutes of regulation before Charleston’s freshman guard Marquise Pointer made a game-tying layup sent the game into overtime.
In the extra session, the Cougars defense continued to stifle the Huskies. Northeastern had another scoring drought over the first 4:41 of the five-minute overtime. Over that span, the Cougars closed out the Huskies to earn a crucial conference win.
“When you are down 20, it’s hard,” said Grant. “But, it has to be hard for us together. We need to work our way through this. You have to pull out your axe and keep swinging. We just kept chipping away. We showed a lot of grit and toughness and we never quit.”
Johnson played the role of the closer for the Cougars. Thanks to 19 points in the second half and overtime, Johnson’s total of 21 points led all scorers. Nick Harris recorded his first career double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds).
All nine of the Cougars (13-7, 5-4) conference games this season have been decided by less than ten points, and their two wins prior to this were by a combined four points. The Cougars will head to Wilmington, NC to face UNCW on Sat., Jan. 30, before they return home for a three game home stand against Towson, Drexel and James Madison.