College of Charleston headed to NCAA tournament after OT win over Northeastern, 83-76

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CAA Northeastern College of Charleston Basketball

College of Charleston’s Joe Chealey, at right, shows his emotions after defeating Northeastern in overtime 83-76 of an NCAA college championship basketball game in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, S.C., Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Joe Chealey had 32 points and the College of Charleston rallied from 17 points down in the second half to win the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament championship and earn its first NCAA Tournament berth in 19 years with an 83-76 overtime win against Northeastern on Tuesday night.

Fans mobbed the floor when things ended, swarming a team that looked cooked about an hour earlier.

After rallying to tie, the Cougars caught fire in the extra period. They hit their first four shots, including a pair of 3-pointers by Marquise Pointer to take a 75-69 lead. Northeastern (23-10) could not come back.

The Cougars (26-7) appeared done early in the second half, trailing 42-25 after Vasa Pusica’s 3-pointer with 17:27 to go. That’s when Charleston ramped up the pressure – it forced 14 turnovers the second half – and tied it at 65-all on Chealey’s layup with 10.1 seconds to go.

Charleston got the ball back with the chance to win in regulation, but Chealey’s long 3-pointer hit off the front of the rim.

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