Chants Shine in ESPNU Debut
Jan. 19, 2013
CONWAY - For the first time in Big South Conference regular season history, two teams from the BSC were featured on ESPNU. The Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina hosted the Keydets of VMI Saturday afternoon. The Chants used a strong defensive effort and rebounding to down VMI 72-49 inside The HTC Center. VMI forward Stan Okoye and CCU guard Anthony Raffa entered the game as the number one and two scorers in the Big South. Okoye struggled the entire game scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 boards while shooting just 28.6 percent (6-21) from the field. Raffa led the Chants with 21 points, five rebounds and three steals while shooting 66.7 percent (8-12) from the floor.
The loss marked the first in conference play for VMI as the Keydets fell to 9-8 overall and 4-1 in BSC action. The Chants improved to 8-8 overall and 3-2 in the BSC.
Raffa's 21 points moved him into 10th on the CCU career-scoring list. He now has 1,216 points in his CCU career. Helping push the offense for the Chants was sophomore Warren Gillis who had 12 points while junior El Hadji Ndieguene and freshman Badou Diagne each ended the game with nine points and nine boards. Diagne also dished out four assists. Senior guard Kierre Greenwood returned to the lineup after missing the previous contest due to flu-like symptoms. He dished out a game-high eight assists while adding four rebounds and a pair of points.
VMI was led by Okoye and Rodney Glasgow, each of whom had 16 points. Okoye added 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals while Glasgow hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range. D.J. Covington chipped in nine rebounds as well.
The Chants shot 42.4 percent (28-66) from the field including just 26.7 percent (4-15) from 3-point range. The Keydets shot a season-low 30.4 percent (17-56) from the field and hit just 25.8 percent (8-31) from beyond the 3-point line.
The win snapped VMI's five-game win streak and also snapped CCU's two-game skid.
Coastal opened the game with a steal on VMI's opening possession but a missed jumper ended the Chants' early momentum. After an empty VMI possession, the Chants took the lead on a layup by Gillis. A short 5-0 run by the Keydets that included a dunk by Covington and a three by Glasgow gave VMI its first advantage of the game. Diagne answered for the Chants with a dunk of his own to shorten the deficit to one. After Okoye scored a pair of points the Chants began a 7-0 run in part thanks to Raffa who scored a layup and a three on back-to-back possessions to put CCU in the lead for good. The Chants lead would hover around three points the rest of the first half with the largest margin being six at the 4:27 mark. The half ended with Coastal up 27-23
CCU opened up the second half with a 10-2 run to take its first double-digit lead of the game, 37-25. After the Chants increased their lead to 14, the Keydets began a 12-2 run powered by back-to-back threes from Glasgow. CCU immediately answered with an 8-0 run with a three by Gillis, a dunk from Michel Enanga and a three from Raffa which gave the Chants a 52-40 lead with 7:30 left on the clock. The lead would never dip below double-digits the rest of the game as the Chants went on to win 72-49.
Coastal dominated in the paint, outscoring the Keydets 40-21. CCU also owned the boards, outrebounding VMI 52-35.
The Chants return to action Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in Asheville, N.C., against UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs are 8-10 on the season and 2-2 in conference play; they host Longwood today at 4:30 p.m.
The Keydets return to action Wednesday, Jan. 23 at High Point for a 7 p.m. tip. The Panthers are 8-8 overall and 3-1 in conference play; they travel to Charleston Southern tonight for a 5:30 p.m. game.