Dec. 3, 2009
LEXINGTON, Va. - The Coastal Carolina University men's basketball team (6-2, 1-0 Big South) opened the Big South Conference schedule with a 111-97 win over VMI (3-3, 0-1 Big South) Dec. 3 in Lexington, Va. Coastal Carolina won its Big South opener for the third time in the last four years.
Coastal Carolina scored the most points in a single game since its 115-50 win over Lees-McRae Dec. 28, 2003 and five players scored in double figures for the Chants. Freshman Danny Nieman led Coastal with a career-high 22 points, while classmate Kierre Greenwood and redshirt-senior Joseph Harris had 20 apiece. Redshirt-junior Chad Gray and freshman Chris Evans had 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Harris and Gray had double-doubles with 10 rebounds apiece. Harris also now owns the school's career blocked shot record after swatting four shots. He now has 116 career blocked shots.
There were three ties and four lead changes in the first half as the Chants went to the lockerroom up 53-51. Coastal jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 3:16, but the Keydets would answer with an 18-6 run that was capped by a three-pointer from Michael Sparks at 12:50. Coastal would rebound and take a 21-18 lead on a dunk from Evans. VMI took a 32-30 lead at 6:51 on a Hunter Houston jumper. Coastal then went on a 17-8 run, giving the Chants a 49-40 lead at 3:15 on a Nieman jumper. VMI rallied to cut the lead to two on four free throws from Austin Kenon and Ron Burks in the final 40 seconds.
VMI came out of the lockerroom and took a 56-53 lead on a three-point play from Nick Gore. The Chants answered with a 12-2 run, capped by a Greenwood layup at 15:47. The lead would extend to double digits (74-65) on redshirt-senior Logan Johnson's layup at 12:51. Nieman's three-point play at 11:45 gave Coastal an 83-67 advantage. VMI would eventually cut the Coastal lead to 11 on two separate occasions, but Coastal answered both runs, putting the game away with 53 seconds remaining on a deep three from Greenwood.
Coastal shot 57 percent from the floor and had 82 points in the paint. The Chants also outrebounded VMI 50-35. The Chants had 10 blocked shots and 21 assists compared to just 15 turnovers.
Kenon led VMI with 31 points on five three-pointers. Burks had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Sparks and Keith Gabriel had 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Coastal Carolina will continue its Virginia swing Saturday, Dec. 5, at Liberty. Tip off is at 7 p.m.