Down By 12 Green Wave Make Late 2 Minute Run, Smith Paces Cougs With 22 Pts.
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer
Up by 12 points with 2:18 remaining, Tulane went on an 11-0 run over the next two minutes to trail the College of Charleston 77-76 with just 20 seconds on the clock. Fortunately for the Cougars Reyne Smith and Osinachi Smart each went 2 for 2 from the line as CofC was able to hold on for an 81-77 win over the Green Wave Tuesday night at TD Arena. Charleston improve to 5-2 early in the season, with Tulane falling to 2-5 overall.
Smith lead all scorers with a game high 22 points including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc. Brenden Tucker who came in off the bench and provided a much needed spark for the Cougars went 4 of 6 from long range for 17 points, with Fah’Mir Ali adding two 3-pointers, finishing with 10 point for the home team.
The game lacked luster for the first 10 minutes of play. The Green Wave took their first lead (13-12) of the contest with 13:34 on the clock. When Smith drained his second 3-pointer CofC regained the lead at 21-20 with seven minutes before the break. Coming in off the bench Tucker added a spark, knocking down back to back threes as the Cougars took a narrow 36-31 lead into the locker room.
Less than five minutes into the second half a fast break layup by Jaylen Forbes tied the contest at 44 all. The Cougars would maintain a one possession lead over the next seven minutes before Ali hit from downtown to give the home team a 59-51 margin with 8:40 to play. CofC up 77-65, the Green Wave began their comeback, capped off by a short jumper by Forbes. Forced to foul CofC saved the game at the foul line, much to the delight of 3800 plus fans inside TD Arena.
Tucker didn’t expect Tulane would lay down in the final minutes without putting up a fight. “That was a very good Tulane team. They made a good run at the end. We have stuff to clean up and get ready for Furman.” As far as Smith his new freshman team mate Tucker has nothing but kudos to heap upon him. “Reyne got a lot of poise. This is a freshman like I’ve never seen before. He wants those big moments. That’s good for us come March.”
Charleston head coach Pat Kelsey has equal amounts of praise for Smith. “He’s got a reputation of being a big moment guy.” Kelsey added, “Another thing too is that being a great shooter you have to have the right mentality. He’s got great mechanics.”
What made the difference overall for the Cougars for a few specific stats. Charleston outrebounded Tulane 39-25, grabbing a 14-3 margin on the offensive glass, which lead to 19 second chance points for the home team. The Cougars were able to drop 12 of 25 from beyond the arc which helped maintain the lead for most of the contest.
Forbes paced the Green Wave with 20 points, going 5 of 5 from the charity stripe adding one from long range. Jalen Cook made good on 5 of 10 from the field including 7 of 7 from the free throw line for 17 points. James Sion and Jadan Coleman chipped in 11 points apiece with Coleman connecting on 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
The Cougars travel to Furman on Friday night to take on the Paladins. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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