There was a point about three weeks ago when it appeared College of Charleston guard Marquise Pointer had hit that imaginary freshman wall.
Nearly every freshman, playing in their first collegiate season goes through it. Pointer was struggling shooting the ball, especially the long-range shot, and his confidence dipped.
Cougars coach Earl Grant, however, wasn’t too concerned. Grant kept telling the talented freshman that the ball would eventually fall for him.
Grant was right.
Pointer scored 19 points and Jarrell Brantley added 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead College of Charleston past Towson, 65-47, Thursday night before a crowd of 2,538 at TD Arena.
The Cougars, who are 14-8 and 6-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association, can clinch a winning record with just one more victory. Last season the Cougars were 9-24, setting a program record for most losses. Towson dropped to 16-8 and 7-4.
Since Canyon Barry, the Cougars’ leading scorer, was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in early January, Pointer and sophomore Cameron Johnson have emerged as the Cougars’ top offensive threats.
Pointer has been on a roll of late, scoring in double figures in four straight games and in five of the last six. He has led the Cougars in scoring three times in the last four games.
“We don’t worry too much about shooting the ball because there’s so much more to do than shoot the ball during a game,” Grant said. “If you take 10 shots that takes 20 seconds. If you play 30 minutes, what did you do with the other 29 minutes and 40 seconds. Marquise is a winner and he does so many things so well, I was confident his shots would start falling.”
Pointer admitted that his confidence fell a notch early in the CAA schedule, but that is all in the past after the last two weeks.
“I tried not to do anything different, not to change my routine, but my confidence did go down a little bit,” Pointer said. “I know I’m a good shooter and I knew if I kept shooting I would start making some shots. I just kept shooting. That was my mindset.”
In a physical game that saw 42 total fouls and two technical fouls, Brantley recorded his second double-double of the season.
“I knew that this was going to be a physical game,” Brantley said. “The main thing I wanted to do was to stay focused the whole time. Sometimes I kind of get lazy on the defensive end and the offensive end when it comes to rebounding. I wanted to stay locked in on every position to have a chance to go get the ball.”
Unlike the first matchup back in January when Charleston managed just 40 points in a victory, the Cougars were able to find some offensive rhythm. The Cougars were able to score in transitions and connected on eight 3-pointers with Pointer leading the team with three.
“The coaches stressed all week how we needed to get some easy baskets,” said Pointer, who finished with four assists and four steals. “Last game, we didn’t get out and run so they were able to set up their defense on every possession. We didn’t want that to happen as much tonight.”
It was another strong defensive effort the Cougars, who came into the game leading the CAA in scoring defense. The Tigers shot just 36 percent from the floor and struggled to find any flow to their offense.
“I thought we played a great game defensively,” Grant said. “We had a few spells, some lapses, but overall I thought we contested every shot and really battled and fought on every possession. I thought our effort was tremendous and we followed the game plan.”
Evan Bailey added 10 points off the bench for the Cougars.
The Cougars will take on Drexel at 4 p.m. Saturday at TD Arena.