CofC Fall Flat After Halftime, McManus Scores Career Best 18 Pts. For Cougs
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
After trouncing USC Upstate by 19 points in their season opener, and rallying late to take down Georgia State 84-80, the 2-0 College of Charleston men’s basketball team welcomed a Power Five opponent to the Holy City, as Oklahoma State made a trip to TD Arena Wednesday night, with Charleston seeking revenge. CofC fell in Stillwater, Okla. 70-58, in their 2018 matchup, after trailing by just three at the half.
It was different this time around without the help of former Cougar Jarrell Brantley (now with Utah Jazz), who scored 24 points against the Cowboys last season. Without a formidable big guy underneath the basket, Charleston gave up 33 points in the paint, as Oklahoma State built a sizeable second half lead en-route to a 73-54 victory. With the win the Cowboys improve to 3-0, with the Cougars falling to 2-1 on the season.
Charleston did hang tough for the first 16 minutes of the contest, up by nine (26-17) before a 13-4 rally by OSU made it 30 all at the break. CofC head coach Earl Grant realized the momentum shifted late in the first period. “We played pretty well. The first 13 and 14 minutes in the first half, we did a really good job of following the game plan. In the last three or four minutes in the half, it got away from us. They made shots and we didn’t. The pressure bothered us.”
The 5000 plus fans inside TD Arena were fired up with CBS Sports television providing national exposure to the College of Charleston. Offense on both sides of the court was slow with OSU taking a 9-6 lead on a 3-pointer by Thomas Dziagwa after seven minutes of play. But a 12-2 run by the Cougars put the up 18-11 with 7:33 on the clock. They would extend the lead to nine points before the Cowboys rallied to make it 30 all at the half.
Jaylen McManus opened the second half connecting on three from the line. Moments later Brevin Galloway hit from long range as the Cougars took an early four point lead (36-32) with just two minutes gone by. But CofC’s offense fell flat from that moment on as OSU continued to mount sizeable margin behind a 15-2 run, up 47-36 at the 12:37 mark. The best the Cougars could do was to cut the lead to eight points near the midway point before the Cowboys went up buy 19 (67-48) with just over four minutes on the clock.
While CofC’s Grant Riller improved on last years performance (7 points), he fought his way for every bit of his 16 points Wednesday night. The pre-season CAA Player of the Year went 0-4 from long range, making only 5 of 14 from the field. Although Riller didn’t match his season average of 23 points, he did add eight assists and three steals to his game.
Riller gave the Cowboys their due, adding the Cougars fell flat after the break. “A lot of it was on us. You have to give credit to them (Oklahoma State). They caught fire in the second half and we stayed cold. When you have a balance like that, usually it won’t be pretty. We will watch the film, see what we did wrong and learn from it.”
With the loss the Cougars did find a bright spot as McManus scored a career and team best 18 points. The junior forward felt he had to step up his game with OSU focusing on Riller who drives to the basket often with ease. “I pretty much came into the game knowing that I would have to take a lot of threes. I knew they would flood the paint with (guarding Riller). I just let the game come to me. The ball found me and I took the shots.”
Riller echoed his team mates assessment, and admitted the real McManus is emerging.
“It might seem new to y’all, but we knew this for four years. He is a sleeping giant and his opportunity finally came this year. I know he is going to show a lot of people what kind of basketball player he is. We are lucky to have him and he had a great game tonight. Unfortunately, we came up short.”
Dziagwa lead all scorers with an impressive performance from beyond the arc, finishing the game with 21 point on 7 of 10 from long range. Lindy Waters III went 6 of 8 from the field adding 16 points for the Cowboys. Isaac Likelele and Kalib Boone chipped in 12 and 10 respectively for OSU who improve to 3-0 on the season.
Coach Grant said Dziagwa’s play hurt his team. “One guy (Dziagwa) made seven threes. That was a big factor in the game. We just have to go watch and see what we could do better. We were a bit uncharacteristic in the second half. Not being able to execute in certain situations. I have to do a better job of getting us ready for those situations.”
The final stats all favored the visitors. OSU shot 52 percent from the field, with the Cougars finishing with just 32 percent. The Cougars were outrebounded, which lead to some extra attempts by the Cowboys.
CofC will now pack their suitcases to see how their game plays away from TD Arena. The Cougars will play their next five games on the road with its first away contest at Marshall on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. (ET) in Huntington, W.Va.
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