For the first time since 1999, the College of Charleston has booked it’s ticket to the NCAA tournament. The Cougar’s gained their coveted spot among the field of 68 teams after winning the Colonial Athletic Association Championship on Tuesday night. Led by head coach Earl Grant, the Charleston secured their auto-bid after defeating the Northeastern Huskies in an 83-76 overtime win. As a Senior at the College of Charleston, I have to thank this Charleston team for making my final year one to remember! It’s storylines like this that make March great, and there are simply no words to describe the excitement of knowing your school is headed to the Big Dance!

The CAA tournament was hosted at the North Charleston Coliseum, a mere 10 miles from the College of Charleston campus, leaving the Cougars with a distinctive home court advantage. Down 36-23 at the half, Charleston was able to rally behind an insanely loud Charleston student section and cut the 13 point deficit to only 2.

Trailing 65-63 late in the game, a controversial traveling call against Northeastern gave the Cougar’s a chance to tie it up with 18.1 seconds left on the clock. Charleston Senior Joe Chealey delivered, smoothly driving down the lane and converting a layup that would send the game into OT.  After that the game was all but over, as Charleston carried that momentum right into overtime, where they edged out a hard fought 83-76 victory. An overall team effort got the job done for the Cougars, with three different players hitting double digit scoring numbers. Senior guard Joe Chealey led the pack with 32 points, going 2-5 from three point range, and a perfect 16-16 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Grant Riller and Forward Jarrell Brantley also came in clutch, dropping 20 and 18 points, respectively. This CAA tournament win caps off an outstanding regular season for Charleston, who head to the Big Dance with an impressive record of 26-7.

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