No. 18 Charleston wins 18th straight over William & Mary

Sports

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — College of Charleston forward Ante Brzovic had a black eye, which he wears as a badge of honor in this extra special season.

Brzovic got the shiner when he collided with teammate Dalton Bolon going for a rebound last week in a drama-filled, 71-69 win over UNC Wilmington.

“I think it makes him look tougher,” Bolon said with a chuckle. “He wasn’t that handsome to begin with.”

Brzovic has been plenty tough for the 18th-ranked Cougars (19-1, 7-0 Colonial Athletic Association), scoring 17 points in an 82-54 victory over William & Mary on Monday — their 18th straight win this season.

“We played hard,” Charleston coach Pat Kelsey said. “We measure and value deflections. It tells us how hard we are playing. I think we had 50-something deflections, which I think is a record for us.”

Charleston’s 19 wins are the most in Division I and its ranking, up from No. 22 last week, is the program’s highest since 1999 when the school finished No. 16 in the AP poll.

William & Mary (8-11, 3-3) had its two-game win streak snapped.

Charleston didn’t shoot the ball particularly well – hitting just 38 percent from floor – but that didn’t stop the Cougars from connecting on a season-high 16 3-pointers against the Tribe.

“We’re a shooting team, and we play with a lot of pace,” said Bolon, who hit three of his four 3-point attempts. “We’ve got a lot of guys that really pass the ball well. Passing the ball well opens up guys for shots.”

College of Charleston dominated the glass, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds that led to 23 second-chance points.

“We got off to a great start and shared the ball,” Kelsey said.

Charleston came out hot, scoring on their first six offensive possessions. The Cougars quickly built a double-digit lead. Reyne Smith’s 3-pointer gave the Cougars a 14-2 lead less than four minutes into the game.

“We got into the game really quickly and our defense was solid,” said Brzovic, who had three steals and two assists. “We were doing what the game plan told us to do. We controlled the game from the first minutes.”

Charleston continued to build on its advantage throughout the first half, using a 12-3 run and grabbed a 33-14 lead on Brzovic’s putback with 8:31 to play before intermission.

“They played really well, and I don’t think that was our best game, but they had a lot to do with that,” William & Mary coach Dane Fischer said. “They came out and blitzed on offensive glass early. We really struggled to get into an offensive flow. We just never really got going.”

The second half was much of the same as the Cougars led by as much as 32 points.

Ben Wight had 14 points to lead the Tribe.

BIG PICTURE

William & Mary: The Tribe came in with two straight victories and the CAA rookie of the week award winner Charlie Williams. But the team was quickly in the hole as Charleston opened a 13-point lead less than five minutes in. … William & Mary finished 0-of-12 on threes.

College of Charleston: The Cougars have continued their success in long-range shooting. They connected on a season’s best 16 3-pointers a game after getting 15 in a win over Elon this past Saturday.

UP NEXT

William & Mary goes to Delaware on Thursday night.

College of Charleston goes to Monmouth on Thursday night.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25