STAFF REPORTS – Trailing by 17 points in the second half, the season seemed to near its end for Coach Earl Grant’s College of Charleston Cougars men’s basketball squad. But just as the team has done all season, they dug deep and never gave up, going on an historic second half run against the Northeastern Huskies to take the game to overtime.
The Cougars ended a 19-year NCAA Tournament drought by outplaying the Huskies in the extra period to win the 2018 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title, 83-76. Senior Joe Chealey led the Cougars with 32 points for his last game in the Lowcountry. Junior Jarrell Brantley, a Columbia native, also contributed as he chipped in a double-double effort.
Coach Grant, who played hoops at Stall High School, was proud of his team after the victory. “These group of young men really worked hard for this and I’m glad we found a way to get it done. I love these guys. I’m so happy for them,” said Coach Grant.
Grant also gave praise to the home crowd as the conference tournament was held at the North Charleston Coliseum for the second straight year. “The crowd was amazing and gave us great energy. They willed us to victory tonight,” said Grant.
There were several notable fans in the crowd as actor Bill Murray and College of Charleston basketball coaching legend John Kresse attended the game. They cheered on their Cougars along with thousands of students and community members on their way to The Big Dance.
Coach Grant and the Cougars will find out their fate on Selection Sunday after the conclusion of several conference tournament championship bids on March 11. As of now, they are projected as a 13 or 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament bracket.
Visit www.cofcsports.com to keep tabs on the Cougars.