CONWAY, S.C. (Nov. 16, 2023) – Vermont used a 29-11 run over the final 8:07 of the game to storm back from what had been as much as a 15-point deficit to defeat College of Charleston 73-64 in the opening game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
“We really struggled to score the whole game, but we found something there at the end,” Vermont coach John Becker said. “We just had a little bit more of a sense of urgency. A little more effort and toughness. Then when we made a few shots, that gave our defense even more energy. We just caught a wave of momentum and adrenaline late when we needed it. And you could see they (the Cougars) were a little bit deflated on their side.”
Despite going 3-for-25 from 3-point range, the Cougars (1-2) held the lead for approximately 30 of the game’s 40-minutes. But Charleston coach Pat Kelsey lamented his team’s inability to close it out down the stretch.
“Our guys played really well and really hard for the majority of the game. But unfortunately at the end we were not our best,” Kelsey said “(Vermont) made winning plays at winning time. They stepped up and made the plays necessarily to win the game, and we did not.”
One of those plays occurred with 3:08 left and the Catamounts (3-0) holding a 62-60 lead. Vermont forward Matt Veretto missed a free throw, but Ileri Ay-Faleye grabbed the rebound and was fouled while making a layup. He completed the three-point play to extend Vermont’s advantage to 65-60.
“Page one, sentence one on winning basketball says, ‘Don’t give up offensive rebounds on missed free throws.’ ” Kelsey said. “But tip your cap to them. They got us.”
Veretto led Vermont in scoring with 18 points, and TJ Long added 15 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Ante Brzovic was the top scorer for Charleston with 14 points, followed by Ben Burnham with 13.