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CofC Rout W&M, Down Tribe 82-54



Cougars Hit Record 16 Three’s, Win Streak at 18
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer

The excitement continues to build on at the corner of George and Meeting Streets as the College of Charleston men’s basketball team prove they can live up to all the accolades they have been receiving. Hours after CofC jumped four spots in the weekly AP Top 25 poll, the 18th ranked Cougars welcomed fellow CAA opponent William & Mary to TD Arena. After extending their win streak to 17 games this past Saturday with a 78-60 win over Elon, Charleston has been a target for teams hoping to knock them off their perch.

The Tribe fresh off a win over UNCW were not only hoping to be the first team to end the streak, but maybe grab a 15 minute sound bite on ESPN. But unfortunately for William & Mary, the Cougars didn’t read the Tribe’s pregame mission statement, as the home team sent the visitors packing 82-54 before another sell out crowd at TD Arena, moving the nation’s longest winning streak to 18 games and counting.

Four CofC players finished in double figures with Ante Brzovic leading the way with a game best 17 points. CAA Player of the Week Dalton Bolon chipped in 15 including three from long range. Reyne Smith and Ben Burnham added four and three respectively from beyond the arc to finish with 13 apiece. Burnham lead the Cougars with eight rebounds. CofC improve to 19-1 on the season and 7-0 in league play.

Charleston dominated the contest from start to finish, grabbing a double digit lead early in the contest and never relenting. Brzovic scored nine of the Cougars 11 points. When Smith completed a rare four point play CofC went up 20-6 with 15:40 remaining in the first half. Back to back three’s by Burnham provided CofC a healthy 28-10 margin under the 12 minute mark. Charleston would maintain a double digit lead throughout, taking a comfortable 42-24 advantage at the break.

CofC came out of the break firing on all cylinders. Two additional 3-pointers by Bolon and Smith pushed the Cougars ahead by 23 (51-28) with 16:35 still left to play. When Smith hit the last of his four from long range Charleston embraced their biggest lead (74-42) of the night with just over five minutes showing on the game clock.

Coach Pat Kelsey cleared the bench with 2:11 remaining, with Dylan Ritter getting in the offensive action draining Charleston’s final 3-pointer, making it 16 threes in all, setting a new season high on 45 attempts from beyond the arc.

A lopsided score perhaps didn’t indicate it however, CofC didn’t shoot particularly well, finishing 29 of 76 for 38 percent. Where they dominated was on the glass where they hauled in 46 to 36 rebounds, including 19 offensive boards which lead to a 23 to 4 advantage in second chance points. CofC was able to force William & Mary to turn the ball over 18 times as well. Defense provided the victory for Charleston.

Three players from William & Mary scored in double figures with Ander Nelson leading the Tribe with 12 points. Ben Wight and Noah Collier finished with 12 and 10 points respectively. With the loss William & Mary fall to 8-11 overall and 3-3 in the CAA.

With the country’s longest winning streak (18) and a national ranking (18th) to their credit there hasn’t been this kind of buzz at Meeting and George Streets since former Coach John Kresse had the Cougars reaching number 16 nationally back in the late 1990’s.

Current CofC Head Coach Pat Kelsey said it was only fitting the legendary coach who attends as many games as he can to watch battles on the court named in his honor provide a post game pep talk. “Going back in the day a little bit, we had the legend John Kresse in the locker room. He actually spoke after the game. But he was on. He’s a coach.”

Kelsey added Kresse was in his element. “He was on when the minute he got in the locker room standing in front of the players. We could see him get on a roll. His foot was bouncing. He got us all fired up, and then he says bring it in. That was awesome. He’s such a special guy and a true legend.”

Charleston will hope to keep the streak alive as they hit the road for the next couple of contests. The Cougars head north for a two-game road trip beginning Thursday night at Monmouth. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. in New Jersey. They follow that up with a trip to Boston to take on Northeastern at noon on Saturday.

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