The College of Charleston men’s basketball season started off with a bang-beating Siena in their home opener 68-60 in overtime on Friday night.
Cougar fans were ready to go from the tip with anticipation to see the team that could make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999.
Despite Siena beating the Cougars in every major statistical category (aside from turnover differential), the Cougars were able to get the W.
Siena outrebounded Charleston 51-40, shot 38.3% from the field and 28.6% from three-point range while turning the ball over 24 times. The Cougars meanwhile shot 32.9% from the field and 20.0% from three-with only six turnovers.
An ugly game from both sides it was clear that both teams were experiencing first game jitters.
At the half, the Cougars led 28-25 and were led by Grant Riller and Joe Chealey. Riller had eight points, two rebounds, and two assists. Chealey brought in seven points and two rebounds himself.
Despite not having Jarrel Brantley due to a minor knee injury, who was a selection to the Preseason All-CAA First Team, the Cougars were in the game.
With 30 seconds left in regulation, Marquise Pointer hit a big three to put the Cougars up 52-51.
Despite that Siena was able to score at the buzzer and force overtime.
The Cougars would outscore Siena 15-7 and seal their fate winning 68-60. The win continues head coach Earl Grant’s win streak of season openers (4-0).
Standouts from the game include Riller who finished with 21 points. Chealey finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, and Nick Harris also played well finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.
A timetable for Brantley’s injury remains unknown but should be back in the lineup soon.
Charleston’s next game is against 7th ranked Witchita State on Monday night in the Charles Koch Arena.