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CofC Escape NJ With 69-55 Win Over Monmouth



Reyne Smith Reigns From 3-Point Land for 27 Pts.
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer

The College of Charleston men’s basketball team took their 18th national ranking and 18 game win streak on the road as they visited Monmouth University in Long Branch, New Jersey Thursday night, in the first of two consecutive road games. The meeting would be the first between the two programs since Monmouth joined the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) this season.

Heading into the matchup the teams couldn’t be any further apart. At 19-1 and 7-0 in the CAA the Cougars are one of the most talked about mid-major teams in the country, sporting an impressive 10 man rotation that is equally stellar from 3-point range. On the other side of the equation, the Hawks at 1-17 and 0-5 in the conference stood little chance against the mighty Cougars.

Monmouth were coming off back to back 20 point losses to Hofstra and Towson, with CofC overpowering Elon by 18 and William & Mary by 28 in their last two contests. However, that is the reason they play the game, to see how the chips fall. When it was all said in done and the stats were recorded, Charleston rallied in the second half downing their hosts 69-55 at the Ocean First Bank Center.

Despite shooting 28 percent in the first 20 minutes of play and trailing by two at intermission the Cougars were able to find some offense in the second half to emerge victorious. Reyne Smith carried the offensive load for Charleston, hitting 7 of 10 from beyond the arc and going 6 of 6 from the charity stripe to finish with a game best 27 points, just two shy of his personal best in a Cougar uniform.

CofC got off to a shaky start. Six early turnovers combined with a nearly five minute scoring drought found the Cougars down 13-8 with 11 minutes showing on the clock. When Smith drained his second from long range the Cougars pulled within one (15-14) before the Hawks put together a 10-2 run.

A big three by Monmouth’s Jack Collins followed by two easy layups gave the home team their biggest early lead, up 25-16 under the five minute mark. Despite shooting just 30% the Cougars rallied, finishing out the first period with a 12-6 run, trailing 31-28 at the break.

Charleston came out of the locker room with a whole lot of energy but still a little off the mark. When Smith hit his fourth 3-pointer the Cougars tied the contest at 35 all after four minutes had elapsed in the second half. Ben Burnham’s first points, a triple put the brakes on a 4-0 run by the Hawks.

A 10-0 run by CofC including two threes by Smith followed by a trey by Burnham allowed the Cougars to enjoy a nine point advantage. Past the midway mark a layup by Pat Robinson III had Charleston up 54-44. The Hawks were relentless, cutting it to seven a couple of times.

Smith’s seventh from long range provided the visitors another 10 point margin with just over four minutes remaining in the contest. While the Mayor Ryan Larson had an off night from the floor, throwing up blanks for 38 minutes, when he connected from long range the Cougars enjoyed a comfortable 14 point lead. Monmouth forced to foul allowed Charleston to add points from the line in the final minutes of play, helping CofC secure victory and their 19th win in a row.

Despite a poor shooting night Dalton Bolon was able to chip in 15 points for the winning team, with Robinson III and Burnham chipping in 8 and 6 points apiece off the bench. Monmouth’s Andrew Ball and Myles Foster each went 7 of 14 from the floor finishing with 16 and 15 points respectively.

CofC remain undefeated in the CAA at 8-0 and improve to 20-1 overall, the first team in the nation to reach 20 wins. Monmouth move to 1-18 and winless in league play at 0-6.

The Cougars continue their road trip to Boston where they will face Northeastern on Saturday. Action is set for noon at Matthews Arena. Fans can follow all away games on FloSports or tune in with Charleston’s radio partner at 910 AM the Zone.

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