It’s been 686 days since College of Charleston lost a game at TD Arena.
The Cougars' 22-game home winning streak was second nationally to Houston, which had won 28 games headed into this week.
Drexel guard Troy Harper ended all of that, sinking three free throws with 1.1 seconds to play to lift the Dragons past College of Charleston, 79-78, Thursday night before a crowd of 4,116 at TD Arena.
It was the second straight loss for the Cougars, who fell to 13-4 overall and 2-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons improved to 8-10 and 2-3.
The last time Charleston lost at home, Northeastern's Bolden Brace hit the game winner at the buzzer to lift the Huskies past the Cougars, 73-72, on Feb. 23, 2017. The Cougars led by as many as 13 points with eight minutes to play Thursday night, but managed to score just one point over the final 3:39 of the game.
Zep Jasper’s layup gave the Cougars a 77-68 lead with 3:39 to play and the win streak appeared to be safe.
But a couple of turnovers and a couple of defensive lapses allowed the Dragons to hang around and get back into the game.
Harper was fouled making a layup with 5.6 seconds to play, but his free throw attempt fell short as Marquise Pointer grabbed the rebound – his team-leading eighth of the night – and was fouled.
“I just left it short,” Harper said.
Pointer made the first, but missed the second free throw and Harper raced down the court for the game-tying shot. As Harper reached the top of the key, he was tripped by Charleston’s Jarrell Brantley and as he was falling put up a desperation shot.
The referees reviewed the play on video and ruled that Harper was fouled in the act of shooting and awarded the 6-1, senior guard three free throws.
“As soon as I got tripped, I just threw the ball up toward the basket,” Harper said.
Harper put the last miss out of his mind as he stepped to the free throw line and calmly made all three attempts to give the Dragons a 79-78 advantage.
“I thought the foul was on the floor, but we should have never put ourselves in that position,” said College of Charleston coach Earl Grant. “Defense and turnovers, two things we’ve kind of built the program around were the difference down the stretch. We had some breakdowns defensively and we turned the ball over.”
- Statistically speaking the Cougars did a lot of good things against the Dragons.
Five players scored in double-figures, including Brevin Galloway, who finished with a career-high 17 points. The Cougars shot 55.4 percent from the floor and committed just eight turnovers.
“We did a lot of things that normally win basketball games,” Grant said. “We were unselfish, we shared the ball and made a lot of shots. We just didn’t finish off the game when we had the chance.”
- Nick Harris and Pointer were solid against Dexel.
Pointer finished 11 points and eight rebounds, while Harris recorded 13 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
The Cougars defense suffered through another lack-luster performance, especially in the first half.
Charleston gave up 43 points during the first half in a 69-58 loss to James Madison on Saturday and Drexel poured in 41 points in the opening 20 minutes Thursday night.
“We got off to another slow start defensively,” Grant said. “We’ve got to find a way to get some stops early on. We let (John) Trevor get too many open looks in the first half. He had 22 points and we knew what kind of shooter he is.”
After three straight road games to start their CAA schedule, the Cougars are back at TD Arena on Saturday to face Delaware, which is 4-1 in the league, beginning at 4 p.m.