CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Grant Riller was perfect from the free throw line and Jaylen Richard converted three of four free throws in the final 25 seconds of the game to allow Charleston to hold off Georgia State, 84-80 in a nonleague game Saturday that lived up to its pregame hype.
The game pitted the Cougars, ranked No. 17 in one preseason Mid-Major poll, and Georgia State, the two-time defending Sun Belt Conference champions.
Georgia State took the lead with 9:23 left in the game on a 6-0 run fueled by two free throws and a dunk from Josh Linder. The Panthers led by five, 75-70 after Kane Williams scored at the basket with 5:33 to go.
Jaylen McManus tied the game with a 3-pointer with 2:11 left and Richard hit a jumper to put Charleston in front, 79-77, with 1:36 left. Richard added two free throws, but Nelson Phillips answered with a 3 for Georgia State to make it a one-point game, 81-80. The Cougars (2-0) closed the game out when Richard hit the first of two from the line and Riller knocked down two more with :03 left.
The preseason Colonial Athletic Association player of the year and a Lute Olson Award candidate, Riller finished with 23 points, including 14 of 14 from the line, adding five assists and four steals. Brevin Galloway added 19 points and Richard and McManus each contributed 13.
Justin Roberts led Georgia State (1-1) with 22 points, hitting 7 of 10 from the line. Josh Linder added 19 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.