College of Charleston 63, Providence 55 quotes & notes

Charleston Coach Earl Grant – “Obviously I’m proud of my players for bouncing back after the tough loss to Wake forest yesterday; we thought we defended well enough to win the game and didn’t make enough plays. I’m just proud of the quick bounce back and quick turnaround. We knew Providence was going to be a physical, tough game to play. Obviously, Coach [Ed] Cooley has done a great job with that program. He’s got a physical team and a bunch of athletic guys. We knew it was going to be a war. I’m just happy my guys showed up and were ready to battle. They accepted the challenge.” (On taking advantage starting in the 2nd half) “The first eight minutes, we had to adjust to their physicality. There was a bunch of hitting going on; bunch of posting and physical play, so we had to adjust to their physicality. Then I was trying to figure out different guys to substitute. I made my mind up that I was going to play more guys to play defense the way we needed to, and not about particularly having my main players in, but just get energy off the bench so we could play hard and compete the whole game. So, at times I put three freshmen out there, and they gave us a great lift for 2-3 minutes. Then I put our starters back in. We found a combination that worked. Changed our defense a little bit, and we were able to play good basketball.” (On changing tactics defensively to cause Providence to have a long scoring drought) “Just trying to play good defense, be in position, and contest every shot, and then rebound the first miss. Just trying to play Charleston basketball to the best of our ability. They showed up for that stretch of the game and were very disciplined. They took a couple charges and got our hand on a few balls to knock them loose. I just thought the guys bought in and responded after a tough loss yesterday.” (On the source of the change in mindset for Charleston Guard Grant Riller scoring 11 points yesterday and 29 today) “I think it comes from him and from us. He had 29 points, and we told him ‘Hey you have to move the ball. People are going to jump and be aggressive. You have to trust your team.’ He was 9 for 15; that’s a high percentage. He let the game come to him and shots find him. His teammates did a good job taking the ball out of his hands and making plays. I think it was just him responding like he always does, and trusting his teammates by not forcing it, but letting it come to him.” (On the +12 Rebound margin) “That’s what we try to do: Charleston Basketball. That’s how we try to defend and rebound. We haven’t done it every time this year, but it’s something that we constantly talk about, that we want to defend and rebound, play with a lot of energy and toughness, and it showed up tonight.

Providence Coach Ed Cooley – “Obviously a little disappointed with the outcome of the last two games. The team’s not playing the way we are capable of. We have to get back to the drawing board. I give Charleston… they were just tougher today, they were better today, they beat us to balls early. I thought we controlled the first ten minutes, then the lid came on it. Quite frankly I don’t have an answer for the way we played but I’ll have to find one quick. It’ll be good to have a day off tomorrow to reevaluate somethings. We have a fractured group right now and got to find a way to put the pieces back together. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people disappointed, but it’s something we can look forward to build and get better at. Not a good showing for us in Anaheim up to this point. Hopefully we can try get a win whoever we play next on Sunday and look forward to getting back to the East coast.” (On what happened after the first dominant 10 minutes of Providence offense then it slowed down) “The ball not going in the basket. I thought we had some good looks at the basket, but the ball didn’t go in. I thought we got a little frustrated when that was happening. They got some confidence with some easy baskets. Six of the first 12 points were scrum baskets where they were based on a deflection and then a layup. I thought defensively we were decent. Even in this tournament we’ve given up 66 and 63 points. I don’t know it’s our defense, but more so our offense. You’re supposed to win basketball games when you’re allowing 62 or 63 points a game. We have to look at our offensive efficiency to continue to improve.” (On the issues, whether ball movement or on shots) “I saw a team today that was frustrated. I saw a team today that was bothered. I thought [with] the physicality of the game, I was shocked that my team not responding to the physicality of the game when that’s been the backbone of our program. For us to get punched in the mouth like that and not respond was very disappointing and hopefully we can fix that.” (On the -12 Rebound margin) “I can’t be more disappointed with what I’ve seen the last three games from my team, and that all starts with me. It’s clear that I’m not connected to this group yet, for whatever way. It’s totally disappointing for me to see us getting beat to a loose ball, and not rebounding the ball the way we’re capable of. I’m not maximizing this group yet. There are some things we could identify to try to help, but overall, we just have to do a better job. There’s no pointing any fingers; we just have to get better. Thank God it’s early enough and the meat of our schedule is definitely coming up. We have a way to go, in order to get to where we’re trying to go.” (On Senior guards not making a basket today) “It’s hard to win when your Seniors don’t play well when they play the majority of the minutes. Hopefully this is the last game for that. Hopefully it’s a wake-up call for them, to understand preparation and focus and energy. Hopefully we can get a little bit better leadership, and that’s always a big word. People don’t always understand how important it is. Leaders take responsibility, and that’s why I’m here taking the responsibility for my team, our Providence College Friars. Quite frankly we’re not where we need to be yet. We’re a long way away from that given our last two performances. Hopefully we can improve that as the season progresses. I know everyone back home is a little upset, they’re not happy with the way our team is playing. Hang in there, it’ll get better. You can’t put your head down in these tough times. We’ll get through it somehow, someway. I always said this before when we got through tough times; the plane gets really turbulent, but it lands nice and smooth. And that’s what we have to look forward to. Get ready for the next game, figure it out from there, love our players up, and try to get the next one.

Wooden Chips
• Providence led by as much as 13 points (19-6) with 10:22 remaining in the first half, but Charleston responded with a 43-19 run to take a 49-38 lead with 8:33 left in the game… that comeback is the fifth biggest ever in Wooden Legacy history… in Providence’s tournament opening game, the Friars blew a 17-point lead, which tied for the second biggest ever in tournament history.
• The combined 118 points ties for the fewest points scored in a Wooden Legacy game in the past four years of play… the 63 points by Charleston represents the fewest a winning team has had in this event since Santa Clara defeated Boston College 62-45 in 2015.
• Charleston’s 18-19 (.947) performance at the free throw line ties for the fourth best FT% by a team in the Wooden Legacy in history, matching the 18-19 showing that Pepperdine had against Arizona last night… the all-time record was set in the previous game, with Wake Forrest making 24-25 (.960), so three of the top five FT shooting performances in tournament history have come in the 2019 tournament.
• College of Charleston closed the series to a 2-1 Providence advantage, with both of Providence’s previous wins by five points.

College of Charleston (4-3)
• Grant Riller led the team with 29 points, his 35th straight game with at least 10 points and 48th career game with at least 20 points… Charleston is now 39-9 when he scores 20+ points.
• Riller’s 29 points is tied for the 15th most ever scored in a Wooden Legacy contest.
• In addition to his 29 points, Riller had five assists which led to 12 Cougar points, meaning he accounted for 41 of the team’s 63 points… he was the only Charleston player with double figure scoring.
• In his career, Riller has now had three games with at least 29 points, five assists and five rebounds, while just one other time since the start of the 2010-11 season has a Cougar posted those numbers (Andrew Goudelock on 1/6/11 at Furman).

Providence (4-4)
• Entering the tournament Providence had won its last nine games when taking a lead into halftime but now the Friars have lost both of their first two Wooden Legacy games despite leading at halftime.
• Providence has now lost 25 of the last 27 games in which an opponent has made at least 50% of its field goals.
• David Duke led the team with 22 points, the third time in his career he has surpassed 20 points… entering today, he had scored a total of 21 points in his last three games combined.
• Alpha Diallo scored 13 points, the 72nd time in his career that he has had 10+ points.
• Emmitt Holt made his second straight start, the only two he has had since the start of the 2017-18 season, and he responded with 11 points.