It’s quarterfinal Sunday here at the North Charleston Coliseum and boy oh boy was it a great day of CAA action.
Game One of the day featured top-seeded College of Charleston vs. 8-seeded Drexel. The Cougars beat the Dragons, 66-59.
Game Two was 4-seed William & Mary vs. 5-seed Towson. The Tribe beat the Tigers, 80-66.
Game Three was 2-seed Northeastern vs. 7-seed Delaware. The Huskies beat the Hens, 74-50.
Game Four was 3-seed Hofstra vs. 6-seed UNCW. The Seahawks beat the Pride, 93-88.
Drexel opened the 2nd half with a big run and ultimately led CofC by as many as nine points with about 10 minutes to play. But then 1st-Team All-CAA’er Joe Chealey helped ignite a 13-0 Cougar run that gave the Cougars a lead they would never surrender.
William & Mary never trailed on their way to a 14-point victory. Towson threatened briefly in the 2nd half, but point guard David Cohn was too much. He finished with 24 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds.
Northeastern’s balanced attack was too much for Ryan Daly and Delaware. Daly scored a game-high 23 points, but Northeastern’s Vasa Pusica, Max Boursiquot, and Bolden Brace all scored in double figures on the way to an easy win for the Huskies.
UNCW’s Jordon Talley scored 37 points, outdueling Hofstras Justin Wright-Foreman and his 29 points. UNCW had to persevere through some serious foul trouble for Devontae Cacok, the nation’s leading rebounder. They struggled early, but Talley and Ty Taylor made some big shots to pull them through down the stretch. And Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys was the big man who ended up fouling out down the stretch. Heck of a game.
Stat of the Day
William & Mary’s 2nd-Team All-CAA’er Nathan Knight only had one assist vs. Towson, but it was a nifty one. William & Mary ran an inbounds play about midway through the 2nd half. The ball went into Knight, who saw a double-team coming from Towson’s Brian Starr. As the ball was still in the air, Knight spotted Starr’s man, David Cohn, open on the left wing. He quick-tipped the ball out to Cohn in one motion and Cohn drilled the open look. It was a nifty little play and the Tribe never looked back after that.
Quote of the Day
College of Charleston Coach, Earl Grant, said about his team, “defense is our secret weapon.” I’m not convinced it’s much of a secret. Defense has been a huge part of the Cougars’ identity for the last several seasons. What makes them great this year, in my opinion, is the options they have on the offensive side of the ball. Joe Chealey and Grant Riller are both 1st-Team All-CAA’ers and I think Jarrell Brantley (a 2nd-teamer) is one of the best players in the conference. Brantley’s come a long way since last year. During last year’s Tournament, I remember him primarily as a big-time rebounder. This year, he still defends the hell out of the ball, has increased his range out to 3-point distance, and is a much improved ball-handler too. He can hurt you in a lot of ways.
CofC Coach Earl Grant says, “defense is our secret weapon.” Defense has been a CofC fixture for many years. But I’ve been impressed by how many ways they can score this year.
— Max Gongaware (@maxgongaware) March 4, 2018
Game One of Semi-final Monday will be really fascinating. High-scoring William & Mary vs. defensive-minded College of Charleston. In my opinion, the Cougars and the Tribe are the two most “fun” teams to watch in the entire CAA. William & Mary leads the nation in 3-point shooting and is 2nd in the nation in overall FG%. College of Charleston features the aforementioned great players in Chealey, Riller, and Brantley. This will be a great game to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if it acts as the de facto championship game.
The 2nd semi-final will feature Northeastern and UNCW. Northeastern looked really, really good against Delaware. Vasa Pusica can do a little bit of everything for the Huskies. He flirted with a triple-double against the Blue Hens, with 15 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds. Northeastern also features the CAA’s sixth man of the year in Bolden Brace. They looked strong tonight and they’ll be a fascinating matchup for Jordon Talley, Devontae Cacok, and UNCW.
A Tradition of Excellence
I took a moment to walk the concourse between games and noticed that the hallways were filled with pictures of past CAA Players of the Year. ACC fans may recognize a couple of them. Brett Blizzard nearly led UNCW to a 1st round upset of Defending Champion Maryland in the 2003 NCAA Tournament. A last-second Drew Nicholas shot saved the Terps from disaster. And then there’s VCU’s Eric Maynor, whose shot knocked Duke out of the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
Walking the concourse here at the North Charleston Coliseum and pictures of former CAA Players of the Year line the halls. ACC fans may remember the likes of Brett Blizzard and Eric Maynor. pic.twitter.com/ju7uu2xHRC
— Max Gongaware (@maxgongaware) March 4, 2018
An extremely handsome person appeared in the background of a Delaware Basketball tweet about an hour before the Hens’ game against Northeastern.
Less than an hour til tip pic.twitter.com/4ipywgPqSR
— Delaware MBB (@DelawareMBB) March 4, 2018
8 is wild
The North Charleston Coliseum with a very sneaky troll job in the form of a media meal before the evening session of games. Sticky Fingers provided pulled pork BBQ and coleslaw ahead of the Delaware vs. Northeastern Game. The Northeastern student radio team had no idea what to do with it.