Dec. 1, 2011
CONWAY - Chris Gradnigo scored the opening basket of the game and the Chanticleers never trailed, defeating VMI 87-78 in both team's Big South Conference opener at Kimbel Arena on Thursday, Dec. 1. The game marked Coastal Carolina’s seventh consecutive win over VMI.
Sam McLaurin grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds while scoring a career-high 19 points, besting his previous high by two points, set against Winthrop last season.
Gradnigo scored 22 points while dishing out seven assists and collecting seven rebounds while Anthony Raffa scored a team-high 23 points with four boards and four assists. Raffa has now scored in double-figures for 16 straight games, dating back to Feb. 12 of last season.
Coastal led 6-4 after VMI's Rodney Glasgow made a jumper at the 17:14 mark of the first half. For the next 10:09 VMI was held without a field goal as Coastal extended its lead to 20-11. The Keydets were shooting 7.1 percent on 1-of-15 from the field before a Keith Gabriel layup at the 7:05 mark broke the field goal drought.
VMI cut the Chants' lead to eight on their only trey of the half but Coastal bounced back, extending its lead to 12 points at the break, 38-26.
After picking up two early fouls in the first half, Stan Okoye started the second half with eight of his game-high 25 points in the first 3:41 to cut the lead to nine at the 16:19 mark. After another Gabriel basket at the 12:25 mark, Coastal extended its lead to a game-high 16 points on a 12-5 run over the next five minutes, putting the Chants ahead 66-50 with 8:48 left in the game.
VMI would cut the lead to seven with 55 seconds left in the game, the closest margin since trailing by six at the 10-minute mark of the first half.
Coastal boasted a season-best 68 percent field goal percentage (17-of-25) in the second half to shoot 53.1 percent for the game while the Chanticleer defense held the Keydets to 39.3 percent shooting on the night.
Brandon Crawford added a season-high 11 points on 5-of-8 from the field while contributing four of Coastal's 50 rebounds.
The Chanticleers dominated the paint, outscoring VMI 54-28 down low while controlling the glass with a rebounding advantage of 21 (50-29).
Coastal Carolina remains at home and will play host to the Liberty Flames on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2:00 p.m.