CONWAY, SC The Coastal Carolina mens basketball team never trailed and came away with an 84-70 win in Kimbel Arena over visiting St. Andrews, Jan. 3. The Chanticleers advanced to 6-5 while the Knights fell to 2-6. This marks the first non-conference winning record since the 2002-03 squad went 6-5 as well.
Coastal got the first points of the game, but were tied by the visitors twice before taking the lead for good on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Jack Leasure at 7-4 with 18:07 to play. SAPC cut the margin to one on Dwayne Jeffcoat's layup, but could get no closer than that the remainder of the game. The Chants slowly built the lead throughout the half, answering each of the Knights' runs and entered the halftime lockerroom with a 46-37 halftime advantage.
Coastal was 48.5 percent (16-for-33) from the floor in the first half, while St. Andrews was a stellar 60.9 percent (14-for-23). The two big differences were three-pointers, as CCU hit seven of them and SAPC only had two, and turnovers, as Coastal forced 14 St. Andrews miscues, only giving up six, and turning that into 19 points.
The second half opened strong for the Chants, as they scored the first six points, four by junior forward Moses Sonko and two by senior guard Pele Paelay, to take a 15-point advantage and force the Knights to call timeout. St. Andrews then went on an 11-5 run to cut the lead to nine at 57-48 with nine minutes to play but that was as close as they would get down the stretch. Coastal eventually pushed the lead out to 22 late in the half at 79-57 and, after some late buckets by St. Andrews, settled for the 14-point victory.
The Chants were impressive from the field, hitting 50.8 percent (31-for-61) of their shots, including 44.4 percent (12-for-27) from the three-point line. St. Andrews was also good from the field, knocking down 53.2 percent (25-for-47) of their shots, but just hitting 6-for-16 (37.5 percent) from the arc. Coastal tallied 24 points off 22 St. Andrews turnovers, while CCU also got 22 points from its bench.
CCU was led by Leasure with a game-high 27 points, including seven three-pointers, while he also added four rebounds, five assists and a career-high six steals. Sonko scored a season-high 20 points, going 10-for-14 from the field, and chipped in five rebounds and three assists. Paelay was the only other Chant in double figures with 10, as all 14 players dressed saw action in the game. St. Andrews had three in double figures, as forward Joseph Gripper had 15, while guard Bobby Short and forward Chad Eichelberger each scored 12.
Coastal opens Big South Conference play on the road, taking on VMI, Sat., Jan. 7. The tipoff at Cameron Hall is scheduled for 1 p.m.