Charleston Cougars (7-2 SU, 2-5 ATS, 3-4 O/U) at Rhode Island Rams (5-3 SU, 3-2-1 ATS, 3-3 O/U)
The CAA meets the Atlantic 10 on Saturday afternoon from the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. Both teams are missing key starters due to injury. Yet the College of Charleston has won five straight games, while Rhode Island has won two of three. The Rams fell at Alabama in their last game, 68-64 on Dec. 6. Charleston beat North Greenville, 92-60 on Dec. 10.
Cougars haven’t missed Brantley-yet
Charleston was picked to win the CAA in the preseason and one of the reasons was the return of 6-7, 250-pound junior Jarrell Brantley. He averaged 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds last season but has not played a game yet this year due to a knee injury. Expectations are that he returns in early conference play. With Brantley out, the Cougars have had to rely on sophomore Jaylen McManus (6-7, 230), who scored 11 points in their win over North Greenville at home on Sunday. That was after he scored a season-high 13 points on Dec. 4 in the Cougars’ win over High Point (70-58).
The Cougars are led by their trio of guards in sophomore Grant Riller, and seniors Cameron Johnson, and Joe Chealey. Chealey leads CofC with 19.1 points and 4.7 assists on 37.3 percent shooting (37% 3pt). Riller adds 13.8 points on 41.3 percent shooting (22.6% 3pt), while Johnson adds 10.7 points on 45.3 percent shooting (38.2% 3pt).
Rams compete well against the Tide
Rhode Island shot just 25.6 percent from the field in the first half against Alabama before making a strong run in the second half. URI wound up shooting 35.2 percent from the field and 7-of-23 from the three-point line. They also forced 24 turnovers and held the Crimson Tide to just 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. But ‘Bama went to the line 39 times, making 24, while the Rams shot just 11 free throws. The Rams were also outmuscled by the Crimson Tide, getting outrebounded 45-26.
URI has missed guard E.C. Matthews (6-5, 200), who is averaging 14 points per game in just two games. The senior has been hampered by a wrist injury and is expected to return shortly. With Matthes out, guards Jared Terrell has stepped up, averaging 16.8 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting and 38.9 percent from 3-point range. The Rams average 76 points per game on 47.2 percent shooting (38.6% 3pt). They allow 69.5 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting (34.5% 3pt).
- 9-3-1 ATS last 13 Saturday games.
- 9-3 ATS last 12 vs. Atlantic Ten.
Rhode Island is:
- 6-14 ATS last 20 after a SU loss.
Charleston is a very good team with Brantley and not bad without him. Their guards alone can keep them in games, while URI does miss Matthews. This one should go down to the wire with Charleston covering the game.