Delaware drops College of Charleston, 64-58, Cougars drop eighth straight

The College of Charleston is finding new ways to lose basketball games.

One game, the Cougars might suffer through a poor night. The next, it's turnovers or rebounding that turn out to be the difference.

Against Delaware on Saturday night at TD Arena, it was getting defensive stops in the final minutes of the game that proved to be downfall for the College of Charleston.

Whatever the reasons, the Cougars are 0 for 2015 and are in the midst of their longest losing streak in nearly half a century.

Kyle Anderson, one of the few holdovers from last year's Colonial Athletic Association championship squad, scored 19 points and Kory Holden added 14 points to lead Delaware past College of Charleston, 64-58, Saturday night at TD Arena.

It was the first CAA win for the Blue Hens (2-13, 1-3 in CAA) who are the defending league champions, but lost six of their top seven scorers from a year ago.

It was the eighth straight loss for the Cougars (5-12, 0-4).

It's the longest losing streak for Charleston since the Cougars lost 20 consecutive games over two seasons from 1966 to 1967.

"In tough times you can either scatter or come together and that's what coach (Earl) Grant preaches to us all the time," said Cougars guard Joe Chealey, who scored a team-high 17 points. "We've got to keep working and trust that one of these games is going to go our way. I trust my teammates and we trust each other. No matter what anyone else says, we're all we've got in the locker room. This is a tough stretch, but I'm confident it'll turn around for us."

Grant continues to remain optimistic about the Cougars' future, even this season, despite having not won in nearly a month.

"I told my guys that I continue to believe in them and they have to continue to believe in themselves," Grant said. "Our margin of error is very small. We have to continue to fight and continue to work."

The Cougars were forced to play without senior guard Anthony Stitt, who injured his knee Thursday night in the Cougars' loss to Hofstra. Stitt will have minor knee surgery on Monday and hopes to be back in the lineup in two to four weeks.

"We missed Anthony Stitt a lot more than I thought we would," Grant said. "There were times when I tried to get Joe Chealey out of the game and I couldn't do it. I thought we ran out of gas a little bit as a result."

Getting a stop in the final minutes of the game continues to evade the Cougars. Whether it's a communication breakdown defensively or a missed rebound, the Cougars can't seem to string together defensive stops in crucial moments.

"We're down a couple points late in the game and we've got to find a way to get consecutive stops," Grant said. "That's our biggest issue right now. We haven't been able to do that in our last two games against Hofstra and tonight against Delaware. When we start getting those crucial stops and crucial rebounds we'll start winning again."

The Blue Hens used a 12-2 run midway through the second half to break open a close game. Anderson's 3-pointer with 9:51 left gave Delaware a 46-37 advantage.

Over the next seven minutes, the Cougars chipped away at the lead, getting it to within one possession on four different occasions. A Canyon Barry 3-pointer with 2:01 to play cut the gap to 54-51.

From there the Cougars were forced to foul, and the Blue Hens converted on eight of eight free throws over the final minute of play.

Chealey's driving layup with 13.5 seconds left pulled Charleston to within 60-58, but that was as close as the Cougars would make it.

Barry finished with 13 points. Donovan Gilmore had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Cougars will travel to Elon to face the Phoenix on Tuesday night.