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No. 22 Charleston eyes 18th straight ‘W’ as William & Mary visits

Jan 14, 2023; Charleston, South Carolina, USA; Charleston Cougars guard Ryan Larson (11) directs traffic in the first half against the Elon Phoenix at TD Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Things haven’t come easy for No. 22 College of Charleston, but the Cougars keep moving in the right direction.

Charleston will play for the third time in six days Monday when William & Mary visits Charleston, S.C in Colonial Athletic Association play.

Charleston (18-1, 6-0 CAA) holds the longest winning streak in the country at 17 games.

William & Mary (8-10, 3-2) is getting its act together at an ideal time. The Tribe have won consecutive games for the first time since November.

One thing Charleston coach Pat Kelsey likes about his team is that he doesn’t sense fear when the Cougars might get in a bind.

“Dudes who weren’t afraid,” Kelsey said. “They were ready for the moment.”

Charleston and William & Mary both played at UNC Wilmington last week. They have something in common because both teams produced two-point victories, with the Tribe prevailing 69-67 on Saturday.

The Tribe led for the last four minutes in the UNCW game on the way to winning a true road game for the first time in eight tries this season. Three Tribe players fouled out, so the team persevered.

It might be a matter of finding the right combinations at the right times for William & Mary.

“We had a number of different lineups out there in the course of the game,” coach Dane Fischer said. “One of the best things this team did throughout the course of the game is have such a collective effort for the task at hand.”

The stakes will rise for William & Mary, which will be playing a ranked opponent for the first time this season. Charleston is 12-0 in home games.

“We’ve got an unbelievable opponent Monday in Charleston,” Fischer said. “We’ve got to have all hands on deck Monday.”

The Tribe will count on experiences in road games at Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and NC State along with the UNCW game to draw on for this assignment.

The Cougars made 15 of a season-high 45 shots from 3-point range in Saturday’s 78-60 victory against Elon, which surprisingly led at halftime. The 15 baskets from beyond the arc were also the most this season for the team.

Dalton Bolon of Charleston has posted a double-figure point total in eight of the last nine games. In those games, he has gone above 20 points three times. For the season, he averages a team-best 13.5 points per game.

Gabe Dorsey of William & Mary is the CAA’s leader in 3-point shooting percent at 44.5 percent despite going just 1-for-4 on Saturday.

Charleston racked up a season-high 16 offensive rebounds in the Elon game. The Cougars and William & Mary entered the weekend ranked first and second, respectively, in the CAA in offensive rebounding.

This will be the Cougars’ third home game since moving into the Top 25. They’ve trailed in the second half in each of the first two of those before overcoming Delaware and Elon.

Monday’s outing will mark the middle game of three road contests in six days for William & Mary.

–Field Level Media