The College of Charleston Cougars are going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999, and they’re doing so thanks to an incredible comeback. Charleston beat the Northeastern Huskies 83-76 in overtime to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament and the league’s autobid, and did so after bouncing back from a 36-23 halftime deficit that expanded to a 17-point lead (42-25) at one point in the second half. But the Cougars kept fighting back even when it looked like all was lost, and they sent the game to overtime thanks to quite the ending sequence of events.
The Huskies led by two (65-63) with 23 seconds left after Joe Chealey (who led Charleston with 32 points on the night) hit two free throws. Northeastern then inbounded the ball (almost losing it there) and eventually got it to star guard Vasa Puscia (who scored 30 points for the Huskies), but he was called for travelling. Here’s the foul call:
And the replay:
That gave Charleston the ball with with 18.1 seconds left, and Chealey then tied the game on a layup with 10.1 seconds to go.
And Northeastern had a game-ending chance of their own on a drive by Donnell Gresham Jr, but his shot didn’t drop amidst contact, and no foul was called, even after review.
That sent the game to overtime, and the Cougars took their first lead early in the extra frame. ougars got to party like it’s 1999, and Bill Murray (in the crowd for this one!) was presumably happy. Here’s a clip of him going nuts after a Marquise Pointer three put Charleston up by six in overtime:
So the Cougars have made it to the big dance for the first time in 19 years. But it took an amazing comeback for them to get there.