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The College of Charleston extended their longest winning streak in the nation to 13 games.sports

University of Charleston coach Pat Kelsey has done his best in recent weeks to avoid talking about his winning streak or national rankings.

I can’t help it now.

Ante Brzovic scored a career-high 22 points and had 12 rebounds while Pat Robinson III hit two clutch free throws in the second half of overtime to put Charleston ahead of Towson 76-74. Arena in Towson, Maryland on New Year’s Eve.

The Cougars (14-1) have the longest winning streak in the nation at 13 games, and were in first place by 10 points in AP’s latest basketball poll.

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The Cougars are most likely to be in the AP Top 25 on Monday after No. 25 North Carolina lost 76-74 to Pittsburgh earlier this week.

A theme that Kelsey and the players hesitated to tackle during their winning streak.

“I’ve been avoiding talking about the polls like crazy,” Kelsey said after winning. “In my mind, do you think we deserve it, yes. Good for what we are trying to build.

“Those things are out of my control. I think we’ve done everything we can to put ourselves in the best position for that.”

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It’s been 20 years since the Cougars entered the AP Top 25. His last appearance was in early December 2002, after Charleston won the Great Alaska Shootout.

“If we are not ranked, we move on to the next game and aim to win the next game,” said Kelsey. “If so, we will move on to the next game and aim to win the next game. I think we have become a really good team.”

Charleston got off to a fast start

They took an 11-0 lead by eight points from Brzovic against the Colonial Athletic Association champions and preseason favorites.

The Cougars led 35-25 at halftime. Charleston won despite turning the ball over his season-high 24 times.

“It was like a tractor pull because it was two very similar teams,” said Kelsey. “It hasn’t always been a beautiful game to watch, but his program based on toughness and physicality is what you can expect from both teams.”

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Towson was back in the game in the second half. The Tigers saw him tie the game 66-66, with 1:18 to play in regulation on Cameron Holden’s layup, and Charles on his Thompson’s floating jump shot that gave him a 68-66 lead.

Reyne Smith answered with a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to give the Cougars a 69-68 lead.

“Good shooters have very short memories,” said Kelsey. “Rain missed a few shots early on, but he never rattled. He’s like baseball’s elite closer. wants the ball. We went to him in a big moment. We’re trying to put the best players in the best positions.”

Thompson then hit one of two free throws with two seconds left to send the game into overtime.

The teams exchanged baskets in extra time.

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Robinson hit two free throws with 13 seconds left to seal the win.

“We’ve found a way. Sometimes luck is better than good,” says Kelsey. “We both consider ourselves title contenders and today we faced off in a heavyweight knockdown drag he’s out match.

“They are such a good team.

arrival Andrew Miller at 843-937-5599. Follow him on Twitter @APMILLER_PandC

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