The College of Charleston Men’s Basketball season concluded on Saturday night. After defeating Delaware in the first round of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament on Friday night, Universitry of North Carolina Wilmington defeated the College for the third time this season (66-64) in the Quarter Finals.
Charleston’s (17-14, 8-10) first half sharpshooting built a 37-21 lead with 2:20 remaining in the first half on 7-9 shooting from three point range.
In the second half, the luck from beyond the arc shifted in favor of UNCW. Hitting their first six three point attempts of the second half, UNCW opened the second half on a 16-3 run to tie the game with 16:18 remaining. After each team’s big runs, the game was nip and tuck. Over the last 15 minutes of the game neither team held a lead of larger than four points.
“At the start of the second half, you have to give credit to UNC Wilmington,” said Charleston head coach Earl Grant. “They made a barrage of threes. We had the game at our pace, but they made a few more plays than us and it came down to one possession.”
Trailing by two with five seconds remaining, against the full-court press, CAA rookie of the year Jarrell Brantley sprinted the ball up court and pulled up from the free throw line. Unfortunately, Brantley’s shot careened off the left side of the rim and the Cougars’ hopes of a comeback were dashed.
“Right now, I’m thinking about the game and what I could’ve down better in the game to help my team win,” Brantley said. “If I continue to develop, I feel like I can be in the right positions next year to do so.”
The 2015-16 season was plagued by a number of injuries to key players: Canyon Barry, Joe Chealey and Grant Riller. With the fact that roster features only two seniors, James Bourne and Harrison Browne, next season‘s team has the potential to contend for a conference title.
This may seem like a bold claim but consider Charleston’s luck, excluding injuries, this season.
Kenpom.com is a site that uses advanced statistics to determine how good a team truly is. Created by Ken Pomeroy, the site takes a view on college basketball statistics similar to the way Bill James viewed baseball statistics; the numbers most people look at are not the true indicators of a team’s success. One of the statistics that Kenpom derives is a luck rating. This analyzes what teams records actually are opposed to what their record “should” be, based on how many points they score and allow. In practice, teams with higher luck ratings are worse than their record suggests, and vice versa. Out of 351 Division I men’s basketball teams, the Cougars rank at 308.
Charleston lost nine games this season by six or fewer points. Considering six points is only two possessions throughout the game, with a few different bounces, the Cougars could have finished 26-5 this season.
Some say that “it is better to be lucky than good.” With regards to the 2016-17 men’s basketball team, let’s hope they are both.