Cougars Win Streak Extends To Eight, & 22 Straight at Home
By Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
Jarrell Brantley gave 4,054 fans at TD Arena an early Christmas present as he nailed the biggest 3-pointer of the season, helping College of Charleston secure a last second 73-71 win over Coastal Carolina on Friday night. After Zep Jasper knocked down six straight from the foul line to keep CofC within reach in the final minutes, a CCU miss left the Cougars with 9 seconds to pull out the win. Jasper lead the offense, finding Brantley alone in the corner for a long range bomb that rocked all of George Street, extending Charleston’s home winning streak to 22 games, as well as keeping an eight game win streak alive.
In the post game press conference Brantley gave Jasper his due in the game winning shot. “Honestly, this guy right here (Jasper) made it really easy for me. All I had to do was step-in and shoot it. He took all of the pressure. He beat the press on his own. He got down and made the right read. That’s a hell of a pass from a freshman. But, that’s the kind of guys we have on our team right now. We have a lot of young guys and a lot of depth. I was fortunate that we were able to make the play to keep this streak alive.”
Brantley would finish with a game high 22 points, hitting 9 of 18 from the floor with two from beyond the arc. He had a double double hauling in 10 rebounds for the Cougars. Grant Riller had ten points in the first half to go along with 10 second half points, for 20 total for Chareston. Jasper was only good on 1 of 4 from the field, hitting from long range with his six points from the charity stripe giving him nine points. With the victory CofC improve to 11-2 on the season.
Aside from a few, the final stats were pretty close with CCU hitting nine from long range to just 5 of 23 for CofC. Coastal shot better overall but Charleston made more trips to the foul line, making good on 12 of 16 from the line. The Cougars only turned the ball over seven times, while the Chanticleers committed 14 turnovers. Friday’s game was the 50th meeting between the two ball clubs with Charleston picking up their 37th overall. With the loss CCU fall to 6-6 on the season.
The teams traded baskets for the first seven minutes of play. After Brantley made one of two foul shots it was 13 to 13 with 13:13 remaining. A long range missile by Trevion Brown put CCU up 26-25 late in the period, but a slam by Brantleyh would quickly change that. It was anyone’s ball game as the host team held a slim 34-32 advantage heading into the lockeroom.
Charleston opened the second half with a steal by Brevin Galloway that lead to a dunk, followed by a short jumper by Riller extending CofC’s lead to six points. But a 10-0 run by Coastal put the visiting team up 42-38 with 16:45 on the clock. After the contest was tied at 46 apiece the Cougar began to find some mojo, as Brantley and Riller took control. With help from a big 3-point bucket from Jasper the Cougars built an eight point margin (60-52) midway thru the period.
CCU proved they were not about to go down quietly. The Chanticleers forged another 10-0 run to find themselves up 62-60 with 7:42 left to play. CofC’s three and a half minute offensive drought ended when Riller made one from the foul line. Coastal would hold onto a three point lead a couple of times in the final five minutes of play but Jasper’s clutch free throws combined with Brantley’s big three with 1.2 seconds gave everyone except the few Coastal fans at TD Arena a nice holiday send off.
With less than 10 seconds to execute a full court play Jasper said he kept calm and ran a play the work on. “Like JB (Brantley) said, it wasn’t really pressure. We work on that (end-of-game situations) every day in practice. I looked at the clock and we had nine seconds on the clock. I just knew I could take my time. I knew if I could drive and kick, we do that everyday in practice. I knew if I could get to the basket, I was looking for the shooters. Drive and kick is all I knew.”
CofC Head Coach Earl Grant said Jasper performed like a seasoned veteran Friday night. “He just stepped up. We were down two-or-three points. He stepped up multiple times and made free throws over and over again. Six in a row. To be in that situation late in the game and in that type of atmosphere, says a lot about his maturity. He’s not really a freshman anymore, because he’s had to play so much in the first 10 games. He played like a veteran today.”
CofC will enjoy some time off during the holiday break, before defending its Colonial Athletic Association title with the conference opener ahead at UNCW on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. (ET) in Wilmington, N.C.
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