Feb. 27, 2010
CONWAY, S.C. - The Coastal Carolina University men's basketball team (26-5, 15-3 Big South) trailed VMI (10-18, 5-13 Big South) by one at the half, but started the second period on a 9-0 run and never looked back in a 101-71 victory over the Keydets on Senior Day at Kimbel Arena.
Coastal Carolina now holds the Big South record for most regular-season wins in a campaign with 26. Also, the plus-15 overall and plus-10 Big South turnaround from last season ties a conference record.
Coastal trailed going into the break for just the eighth time this season as the Keydets took a 42-41 halftime lead. The first half saw six ties and 10 lead changes, but the Chants took a 15-9 lead with a15:08 on a layup from redshirt-sophomore Sam McLaurin. A McLaurin layup and two free throws from redshirt-senior Logan Johnson made it 19-11 Coastal with 14:03 left. The Chants would take their largest lead of the half on redshirt-junior Chad Gray's layup at 12:10, making it 24-15 Coastal. VMI would cut the lead to 27-24 on two Keith Gabriel free throws and would take a 30-29 lead at 6:58 on a Stan Okoye layup. Gray and VMI's Austin Kenon traded layups to make it 32-31 at 6:24. The Chants would take a 36-35 lead at 2:38 on a Johson free throw, but the Keydets scored five straight points, as a Carl Josey three gave VMI a 40-36 lead. VMI had a 42-38 lead on a Kenon jumper with 39 seconds left, but senior Mario Edwards hit a three with 24 seconds left to cut the Keydet lead to one at the break.
Edwards had 11 first-half points to go along with six rebounds to lead the Chants. McLaurin added nine first-half points. Coastal outrebounded VMI 20-13 in the first half. Gabriel came off the bench to score 10 first-half points for VMI.
Coastal would take a lead it would never relinquish on an Edwards' layup at 19:42. Six points from redshirt-senior Joseph Harris and an Edwards' layup made it 51-42 Chants at 17:05. Coastal would get the lead to double digits by the 14:23 mark on an Edwards three-pointer. With the score 64-55, freshmen Kierre Greenwood and Danny Nieman hit back-to-back three's for a 15-point advantage. VMI would cut the lead to 73-61 on a Kenon three, but layups from Harris and Greenwood, the last at 7:45, made it 79-62 Coastal. The Chants would end the game on a 22-9 run to end the game, as freshman Chris Evans' dunk with 30 seconds left put Coastal in triple digits in scoring.
Five Chants scored in double figures, led by Edwards' 20 points. Harris had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Greenwood had 11 points and a career high eight assists. Gray had 14 points while McLaurin had a career high 13 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocked shots. Johnson added seven assists to just two turnovers.
For VMI, Okoye had 13 points and six rebounds. Gabriel had 11 points, while Ron Burks and Kenon had 10 points apiece.
The Chanticleers shot 59.2 percent for the game and were 7-of-15 from three-point range. Coastal also outrebouned the Keydets 48-31 and had 28 assists on the day. The Chants held VMI, the Big South's highest scoring team, to just 8-of-32 from three-point range.
Coastal scored 68 of its 101 points in the paint and had 24 fast-break points.
Before today's game, the Chants honored Harris, Johnson, Edwards and managers Tanner Massey and John Mark Freeze on Senior Day.
Coastal Carolina now will host the first round of the 2010 Big South Men's Basketball Championships Tuesday, March 2 at 7 p.m., against an opponent to be determined after today's game.