As College of Charleston coach Earl Grant walked off the court at halftime, he looked up at the scoreboard at the Bob Carpenter Center and felt pretty good about where the Cougars were heading into the final 20 minutes of the game.
Yes, the Cougars trailed 34-33, but it could have been worse.
Charleston senior Jarrell Brantley – the team’s second-leading scorer – hadn’t scored a point in the first half, and Delaware had held a double-digit lead just 10 minutes earlier.
The Cougars dominated the second half, shooting 60 percent from the floor, as Grant Riller finished with 20 points and Zep Jasper added 14 points off the bench to lead College of Charleston past Delaware 83-75 Thursday night before a crowd of 1,726 at the Bob Carpenter Center in Newark, Del.
The Cougars have won five straight and improved to 19-6 overall and 8-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
The Blue Hens (14-11, 6-6) spent most of the night double-teaming Brantley, who came into the game averaging more than 18 points a game, so the 6-7 senior was more than happy to share the ball with his teammates.
“We knew coming in that Jarrell was going to have to sacrifice points for making the right play, and I thought Jarrell did a good job of finding the open man,” Grant said. “Jarrell did a really good job with the post-trap and was able to make some skip passes and share the basketball.”
Brantley was able to find his scoring touch in the second half, finishing with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The rest of team more than picked up the slack for Brantley, especially in the second half. The Cougars were 15 of 25 (60 percent) from the floor and made 8 of 13 3-pointers over the final 20 minutes. At one point, the Cougars connected on five straight 3-pointers to break the game open.
“When I realized that we were only down one at half, I felt like we’d be able to come out and make some adjustments in the second half,” Grant said. “We just needed to come out an establish ourselves.”
Jasper was 3 of 4 from 3-point range, while Brevin Galloway was 3 of 7 and Riller was 1 of 2 from distance.
“Zep and Brevin did a great job of knocking down shots,” Grant said. “Brevin has struggled a little bit lately, so it was good to see him make a couple of baskets and get us going early. Brevin is a big-time shooter, and there’s no way we’d be having the kind of season we’re having without Brevin. We expect him to make shots, we expect him to take them. He’s a confident kid.”
The Cougars opened up the second half on an 18-4 run and never looked back.
“The coaches want me to be more aggressive,” said Jasper, who had five rebounds and two assists. “I know I can score, so I’ve tried to turn it on a little more the last few games.”
- The Cougars bench outscored the Blue Hens substitutes 31-17.
Besides Jasper, Jaylen McManus had nine points and Sam Miller chipped in six points and four rebounds.
“We thought we had a size advantage on them,” Grant said. “I thought our four man would be able to get some points in the paint for us. Jaylen and Sam both did a great job for us.”
- The Cougars came into the game shooting just 32 percent from 3-point range.
Charleston was 11 of 21 for the game and made 8 of its first 10 shots from 3-point range to start the second half.
“We did a good job sharing the basketball and making the extra pass,” Grant said.
Pointer hurts knee
Senior point guard Marquise Pointer hurt his knee in the first half going after a rebound.
On replays, it appeared that Pointer twisted his knee and went straight to the locker room. Pointer, who is averaging 4.9 points and 2.3 assists a game, returned to the bench in the second half but had a large ice bag on his knee.
Pointer will be reevaluated Friday.
“The trainers don’t think it’s anything serious, but we’re going to have to wait and see,” Grant said. “We won’t know if he’ll be able to play (Saturday) against Drexel.”
The Cougars will try to avenge a 79-78 loss to Drexel back on Jan. 10 at TD Arena when they face the Dragons on Saturday in Philadelphia at 4 p.m. It was the Cougars' only loss so far at TD Arena this season.
“I think it’s a revenge game for us,” Jasper said. “We know we let the game down in Charleston get away from us at the end.”