Cougars Claim CAA Regular-Season Title With 11th-Straight Win

Cougars Claim CAA Regular-Season Title With 11th-Straight Win

About a month and half ago, the College of Charleston Men’s Basketball Team dropped a close road game to conference foe Elon. And then the Cougars went on a record-setting tear that culminated on Thursday night in a trouncing of Elon.

The 79-58 victory before a raucous crowd in TD Arena stretched the team’s winning streak to 11 straight games, tying the sixth-longest streak in the program’s NCAA Division I era and tying Michigan State and Grambling State for the longest current winning streak in the nation.

Senior Joe Chealey turned in his ninth 20-point game of the season with 22 points including four three-pointers against Elon. He has now tabulated 1,731 career points to date, which ranks fifth all-time in the school’s record books.

Following the game, the team’s players, coaches and staff erupted in an emotional celebration on the court, exchanging hugs and reveling in a colorful rain of confetti as the team was presented with the CAA’s regular season trophy.

It marked the first CAA regular-season title for CofC since joining the Colonial Athletic Association in July of 2013. With the win, the team earned the No. 1 tournament seed in the 2018 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship, which takes place March 3-6, 2018, at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Head Coach Earl Grant says the victory capped a long road back for a program that was struggling just a few years ago.

“It’s hard to put into words, because you spend so much time trying to prepare and win games,” Grant says. “It’s almost like you don’t know how to celebrate, because you focus on the process so much. We were down at the bottom of the barrel a few years back. It was very hard and some of the same guys are still around. It just feels great. We’ve been trying to climb a mountain for so long that it’s good to see our guys to have some joy in their heart tonight.”

After the win over Elon, Head Coach Earl Grant promised Cougar fans who are hoping for an NCAA Tournament appearance that “we ain’t done yet.”

The game was particularly special for the squad’s seniors who played their final game in TD Arena. The following members of the 2018 Senior Class were honored on court prior to tipoff: Point guard Joe Chealey (Orlando, Fla.), guard Cameron Johnson (Athens, Ga.), forward Evan Bailey (Canton, Ohio), big man Nick Harris (Dacula, Ga.), walk-on guard John Eck (Hilton Head Island, S.C.), manager Max Clevens (Melbourne, Fla.) and manager Seth Lovette (Goose Creek, S.C.).

With an overall record of 23-6 and a conference record of 14-3 the Cougars now head to Williamsburg, Va., to take on William & Mary for both teams’ regular-season finale this Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, at 2 p.m.