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Cougars Win 7th Straight, Down Siena 83-58

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Brantley Scores Game High 23 Pts., Moves Into 9th Place Overall For CofC

By Jeff Walker

After taking a five point lead into the locker room at the break, the College of Charleston men’s basketball team explode for 50 second half en route to an 83-58 on the road against Siena College in New York State. CofC’s Jarrell Brantley turned in a perfect game making good on 8 of 8 from the floor including five from beyond the arc for a game high 23 points in just 20 minutes of play. With his performance Brantley moved up to ninth on the program’s career list with 1,519 points, jumping ahead of Tony White Jr. and Marion Busby.

Brantley had help from Grant Riller who made 8 of 14 from the floor for 19 points. Brevin Galloway went 6 of 8, dropping two from long range for 14 points for the Cougars. It was an all around solid effort from the Cougars with Zep Jasper scoring eight points, and Nick Harris and Jaylen Richard adding six apiece. For the game Charleston went 10 of 17 from 3-point land. With the win the Cougars improve to 10-2 on the season and extend their win streak to seven games.

After a hard fought road win in Richmond on Saturday, CofC Head Coach Earl Grant was happy the team stayed focus in chillier weather. “The VCU game took a lot out of all of us. There was a lot of energy put into that game. Leaving and going straight to Siena and battling the cold weather. It was a really good performance by our guys. We executed the game plan. We did what we wanted to do and I was just happy that we were able to get the win.”

Siena was lead by Evan Fisher who had 18 points off 7 of 14 shots from the field. Fisher hauled in a game high seven rebounds. Jalen Pickett contributed nine points for the Saints who fall to 4-7 on the year.

A long range missile by Galloway put CofC up first before Siena took a 6-5 lead after just three minutes of play. Both teams traded baskets over the next few minutes, with Siena taking their second three point margin (17-14) off a Manny Camper layup. Riller would answer back from long range to tie the contest with 9:23 remaining on the clock. Momentum seemed to go the Cougars way as they took a 33-28 lead into the locker room.

Charleston continued the offensive threat in the second half, up by double digits (38-28) after just over a minute of play. Siena could only cut the margin to eight points on two occasions as the Cougars poured it on, extending their lead to as much as 29 points (76-4&) after a couple of free throws from Richard with 3:08 left in the game. The overall difference in the contest was shooting. CofC finished making 32 of 52 from the floor for 62 percent, with Siena making only 21 of 54 for 39 percent. The Saints attempted 36 from beyond the arc, hitting only nine for 25 percent.

Coach Grant knew the Saints preferred taking shots from long range, but bet against the law of averages. “We knew that they (Siena) could make threes, so every time the ball went up, they took a three. We did talk about the fact that they shoot 30 attempts a game from three and make nine threes a game, but nine times three is 27 and it’s not enough.”  The key is not to panic. “If they make them, don’t overreact. Just make sure you don’t give up layups out of the ball screen rolls. Just continue to contest the threes. We knew we needed to defend well on this road trip to have a chance to win. We did that, but we also had some good offense as well.”

Marquise Pointer in his third game back off an season opening injury had four assists coupled with two rebounds. Transfer student Sam Miller saw nine minutes of action in just his third game in a Cougar uniform had three points, grabbing a rebound to begin his CofC stats.

With Pointer back in the line up Riller has transitioned back to being more of the shooting guard. Riller said he’s becoming more comfortable in his familiar role. “I’ve started to feel a little better with my jump shot. I kind of struggled with that earlier in the year. That’s starting to open up things for me offensively. Just coming out aggressive, but still making the right play.”

Riller admits having a full team just before CAA play begins later this month is good but there is work to be done. “It’s still early, so we have a lot to improve on and fix. Getting Quise (Pointer) and Sam (Miller) back – it takes a lot of the pressure off of all of us. It just makes us deeper like we all knew we would be at the beginning of the year. Having those boys back, the future is bright.”

The Cougars will return home to close out non-conference play with Coastal Carolina (6-5) on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. Tickets can be purchased by calling (843) 953-COFC or online at: www.CofCSports.com/tickets

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