Thrilling end to CofC basketball game

CHARLESTON, S.C. (COFC) -- College of Charleston's Joe Chealey made a steal and pull-up three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining and then dished it to Willis Hall for the game-winning layup with 1.7 seconds left as CofC overcame a seven-point deficit in the final 39 seconds to defeat Charlotte, 83-82, in its season home opener on Tuesday night at TD Arena.

The Cougars (1-1) hit six three-pointers in the final six minutes to overcome a 69-55 deficit. That lead was Charlotte's largest of the second half of play.

The 49ers held the advantage for the last two minutes of the first half and the entire second half until CofC's game-winner in the final seconds of regulation.

The Cougars went 12-of-28 from the three-point line (42.9 percent) and finished the game hitting 49.2 percent (31-of-63) from the field as a whole. CofC also out rebounded the 49ers, 40-35, including a 14-13 edge in offensive rebounds.

Redshirt freshman Canyon Barry led all scorers with 26 points, the most in his young career. He was a threat in all areas of the offensive half court, scoring from the perimeter, in the paint and down the baseline. He was 11-of-19 from the floor (57.8 percent) including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Chealey scored 13 of his career-high 18 points in the second half, finishing with a sparkling 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) shooting performance. His final 10 points in five minutes, including a game-changing steal and game-winning assist, pushed Charleston to its first win of the season.

Playing against his hometown team, Charlotte native and senior forward Hall posted his first double-double of the year with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Charlotte put five players in double figures, including a double-double from Willie Clayton (19 points and 13 rebounds) and a team-best, 21-point performance from Pierria Henry. Clayton led all players with eight offensive rebounds, helping to lead to 11 second-chance points for the 49ers. Terrence Williams had 16 points and eight boards.

CofC jumped out to a 17-8 lead in the first half after a three-pointer from Hall. The 49ers went on an 8-3 run to cut the margin to 20-16 and eventually took the lead at 28-27 after a dunk by Mike Thorne, Jr.

Barry and Hall scored all of Charleston's points for the rest of the half as the Cougars went punch-for-punch with the Charlotte attack, tying the score at 38-38 with 2:52 left.

However, the 49ers ended the half on an 11-0 run, using two three-pointers from Shawn Lester in the final seconds to post a 49-38 halftime lead.

The Cougars tried to chip into the visitors' lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half, pulling to within 56-51 after a Barry jumper at the 10:41 minute mark.

Charlotte found ways to respond at every turn, pushing the lead to 14 after junior big man Adjehi Baru picked up his fifth foul with over eight minutes left in the game.

Charleston's run and momentum started at the 5:42 mark with Barry's three and a steal and layup from Chealey, making it a single-digit game, 69-60.

The crowd began to feel it when senior Anthony Thomas hit a three to pull it to 71-65 with 3:13 remaining.

Charlotte slashed hopes again with a layup from Clayton followed by a defensive stop. Ultimately, however, three-pointers overtake free throws and Charleston kept hitting them down the stretch.

Chealey and Barry hit a pair with 1:24 to go to pull the margin to four, 75-71. More free throws from the 49ers see-sawed the lead to seven again, but a three-pointer from another Queen City native Anthony Stitt with 31 seconds cut it to four again.

After two Charlotte free throws, Thomas hit one from charity and Hall grabbed the offensive rebound and went to the line himself, hitting another one-pointer to make it 82-78 with 15 seconds left.

Chealey stole the inbounds pass, took two steps and knocked down an ice-cold three-pointer with 11 seconds remaining and a one-point game.

Charlotte missed both subsequent free throws and Chealey drove the court with time expiring, wrapping a pass around two defenders to a wide-open Hall under the basket for the game-winner.

The Cougars continue their three-game home stand in seven short days with UNC Asheville (0-2) on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at TD Arena. The game will be televised locally on MyTV Charleston.