Propelled by redshirt freshman Grant Riller’s career high 26-point performance, the College of Charleston men’s basketball team defeated Navy (70-64) on Thursday night (Dec. 1) at TD Arena.
In a hard-fought win for the Cougars, the lead changed 22 times and neither team led by double digits. With the game tied 54-54 with 4:48 remaining in regulation, the Cougars scored nine unanswered points to take the final lead of the game.
“It’s kind of easy to go on runs when you’ve got teammates like Grant Riller putting in buckets,” Charleston teammate Cameron Johnson said.
Riller’s 20 second half points were crucial for the Cougars, but it was a total team effort. Ten players played over five minutes, including key contributions from Johnson (14 points, 4 rebounds) and Jarrell Brantley (13 points, 7 rebounds).
“In the middle of the second half, we went on a run,” said Charleston head coach Earl Grant. “We made a lot of good defensive plays. We took two charges, we made a couple three’s and that’s what good teams have to do.”
Since having to sit out last season due to a torn ACL, Riller has burst to the forefront of the Cougars scoring options, with two 20 point performances under his belt in just seven games. Riller’s play has been rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup in the last three games.
“There’s a lot of guys who want to play minutes and sometimes you don’t play as much as you want to,” Grant said. “Grant [Riller] is an example, Grant never played more than 18 or 20 minutes and then tonight he came out and played 30 and he played great.”
Winners of two in a row, the Cougars (5-3) ready to host Davidson (5-1) at TD Arena on Sunday (Dec. 4, 4 p.m.)
“When we were both in the Southern Conference, it was a big-time rivalry, a big-time game,” Grant said. “Both teams have a lot of history, so I’m sure there will be some pride on the line on Sunday.”