NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – Joe Chealey scored four points in the final 40 seconds, including two free throws with just eight ticks left, and second-seeded College of Charleston outlasted seventh-seeded James Madison, 67-62, on Saturday in the third quarterfinal game of the 2017 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
The Cougars (24-8) owned a two-point lead – and possession of the ball under their own hoop – with 37 seconds left, before Cameron Johnson tossed a full-court heave that landed perfectly in the hands of a streaking Chealey, who netted an easy layup to make it 63-59.
CofC (24-8) moves on to face either third-seeded Towson or sixth-seeded Northeastern in Sunday’s second semifinal game at 4:30 on Comcast SportsNet and CAA.tv. It’s CofC’s first appearance in the semifinals of the CAA Championship.
JMU (10-23) still had life with less than 10 seconds left after senior Shakir Brown made three from the free throw line, but the Dukes opted to foul Chealey during the ensuing inbounds play. The redshirt junior calmly responded by making both shots, and the Cougars eventually pulled out the win shortly after.
Cougar sophomore Jarrell Brantley recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards, and Chealey led his team with 21 points, which included an 11-of-13 effort from the free throw line.
The Dukes, fresh off a round 1 win over Drexel on Friday, were led in defeat by Brown’s 22 points, while senior Tom Vodanovich had 13 and six rebounds in his final collegiate game.
In the first half, the Cougars went up 25-15 with six-plus minutes left following a bucket from Evan Bailey. Madison fought back as the period ended, utilizing a 12-5 run capped by Brown’s second three-pointer of the game with 56 seconds remaining.
Charleston stayed just ahead of JMU for the entire second half, until the Dukes evened the game at 56-56 with 4:05 remaining on a layup from Paulius Satkus. JMU’s Joey McLean again tied the game for the Dukes at 59-59 with just over two minutes to play, and Johnson came up huge with a jumper at the 1:51 mark prior to Chealey’s wide-open layup.
Notes: The Cougars are now 35-10 all-time when playing games at the North Charleston Coliseum since 1993. CofC and JMU played for the first time in the championship tournament. Charleston, which swept the Dukes in the regular season for the first time, earned the No. 2 seed in this year’s championship – their highest since joining the league in 2013.