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No. 18 Charleston survives scare from Monmouth

Jan 14, 2023; Charleston, South Carolina, USA; Charleston Cougars head coach Pat Kelsey reacts to a play on the court in the second half against the Elon Phoenix at TD Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Reyne Smith hit seven 3-point shots on his way to a 27-point night and No. 18 College of Charleston had a surprising struggle before dispatching host Monmouth 69-55 on Thursday in West Long Branch, N.J.

Charleston didn’t lead until Smith made a 3-point basket with less than 14 minutes remaining in the game.

The Cougars (20-1, 8-0 Colonial Athletic Association) became the country’s first 20-game winner and stretched their winning streak to 19 games, the longest in Division I, despite trailing in the second half for the fourth time in their last five games.

Smith’s first 21 points came on 3s. He made six free throws in the final three minutes. He shot 7-for-10 on 3s.

Dalton Bolon added 15 points and Charleston overcame 15 turnovers. The Cougars made 12 shots from 3-point range and just seven 2-point baskets.

Andrew Ball’s 16 points and Myles Foster’s 15 points were tops for Monmouth (1-18, 0-6).

The Hawks, who have lost 10 in a row, hung around despite going 4-for-15 on 3-pointers and 1-for-7 on free throws.

After Smith’s go-ahead 3, he hit another triple 26 seconds later. The Cougars drained five 3-pointers in the first 7 ½ minutes of the second half.

Charleston built a double-figure lead at 54-44 on Pat Robinson III’s drive with 8:19 to play.

Ball and Foster both went 7-for-14 from the field. The rest of the Hawks were a combined 11-for-34. Foster also had eight rebounds before fouling out.
Monmouth led by as much as 25-16 in the first half before holding a 31-28 lead at the break.

Charleston shot 28.6 percent from the field with eight turnovers in the first half. The Cougars made five 3-point baskets and three 2-point shots in the first half, when Bolon’s 10 points and Smith’s nine were key to keeping the margin tight.

Monmouth made 41.2 percent of its shots in the first half.

— Field Level Media