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CofC Claw Out 83-75 Win Over Towson



Cougars Erase Late Double Digit Deficit, Improve to 27-3 Overall
By: Jeff Walker, Sports Writer

Both teams have secured a first round bye in the upcoming CAA Tournament with Charleston projected to be the second seed behind league leader Hofstra. None of that mattered Thursday night as CofC and Towson were vying for another regular season victory.

When all the action was done and the squeak of athletic shoes quieted on John Kresse Court inside TD Arena, the Cougars dug themselves out of a double digit deficit winning the final two four minute wars to emerge victorious downing Towson 83-75 before a near sellout crowd that included legendary funnyman and Charleston resident Bill Murray as well as Congresswoman Nancy Mace.

One of the upsides to the contest was a balanced attack. Six CofC players scored in double figures with Reyne Smith leading the Cougars with 13 points including two triples and another three from the line after being fouled at long range. Jaylon Scott, Ryan Larson, Ante Brzovic, Dalton Bolon, and Pat Robinson III all chipped in 12 points respectively. With the win Charleston improve to 15-2 in the CAA and 27-3 overall. Their 27 wins is the most by any college team in the nation.

For the visitors it was pretty much a one man show. Nicolas Timberlake was on fire and destined to propel Towson to victory. One of the purest shooters in the CAA, Timberlake had 14 at the half, en-route to a game high 34 points. The Tiger guard made good on 11 of 17 from the field including 6 of 8 from 3-point land. With the loss Towson fall to 19-11 overall and 11-6 in the conference. Teammate Charles Thompson hauled in a game best nine rebounds for the Tigers.

Early on, neither team could light it up. Four minutes into the contest it was tied a nickel apiece. When Larson made the first of CofC’s four 3-pointers on the night the Cougars went up 8-5 with over 15 minutes remaining in the opening period. An 8-2 run by Towson found the Cougars trailing by three.

All of the made baskets were hard earned. Just past the midpoint a trey by Timberlake gave the visitors a six point (20-14) advantage. When Smith connected from long range it was tied at 23 with just under eight minutes before intermission. The Tigers would extend the lead to seven. When Scott made three the old-fashioned way the Cougars trailed by one with 33 seconds left, but a buzzer beating triple by Rahdir Hicks sent Towson into the locker room up 38-34.

The Cougars came out a little weary after the break. A steal by Cameron Holden leading to a dunk put the Tigers up 49-40 after five minutes. 90 seconds later the Cougars were down by 10. Towson would hold unto an eight point margin on two occasions, the second coming with 9:47 left in the game.

That’s when the Cougar defense stepped up. When Bolon made two free throws with 7:47 remaining the contest was tied at 61 all. With TD Arena rocking as the inevitable sixth man, the Cougars forged ahead maintaining a one and two possesion lead for most of the final two four minute wars.

A steal by Benny Buckets aka Ben Burnham provided Babacar Faye a nice uncontested slam dunk putting CofC up seven. A jumper by Robinson III put the home team up by eight (73-65) with 3:53 showing on the clock. Towson forced to foul allowed Charleston to win the contest from the charity stripe, carrying that same eight point advantage over the finish line.

Despite shooting adequately from the floor, and making just 4 of 16 from long range the Cougars did prevail from the foul line, making good on 29 of 35 attempts. Charleston did win the overall rebound count, besting Towson 35-31, most of that coming late in the contest finishing with 10 off the offensive glass. The overall margin was below their average. Still Charleston continues to lead the nation in offensive rebounds per game with 13.86

CofC Head Coach Pat Kelsey broke down the game this way. “Rebounding is one of our strengths. We are 14th in the nation. Towson know how to attack the boards. Give Coach Skerry credit, he and his players came prepared. We won the final two four minute wars, and thankfully the crowd helped get us there. The crowd was awesome tonight. I’ve been in a lot of storied arenas, but this place (TD Arena) was rocking tonight.”

College of Charleston have a quick turn around as they host Stony Brook at noon on Saturday in the final CAA regular season game. Prior to the start of the contest, Larson, Bolon, Scott, and Robinson III will be recognized for Senior Day. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:45 a.m.
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