Men's Basketball Uses Strong First Half to Defeat High Point 82-69
CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team (7-7, 1-1 Big South) shot a blistering 69.2 percent in the first half on its way to an 82-69 win over High Point (4-9, 0-3 Big South) Jan. 3 in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina moves to .500 for the first time this season as the Chants have now won four straight and six of its last seven games.
The Chants were 18-of-26 from the floor in the first half, including going 6-of-10 from three-point range. Coastal Carolina would jump out to an 11-4 lead at 15:49 on two free throws from senior Mario Sisinni (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips). A fastbreak layup from senior Steven Sexton (Monticello, Ky./Wayne County) gave Coastal Carolina a 15-7 lead at 12:15. High Point would cut the lead to five (18-13) on a three-point play from Steadman Short, but layups from redshirt juniors Joseph Harris (Lejeune, N.C./Lejeune) and Logan Johnson (Knoxville, Tenn./South Doyle) put the Chants up 22-13 at 9:54. High Point would get no closer than six points in the first half as the Chants ended the stanza on a 25-7 run in the last 8:04. A three from junior Mario Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Chipola J.C.) gave the Chants a double-digit lead (31-21). Another Edwards three at 4:07 made it 39-23 at 4:07. Sisinni and Sexton hit three’s in the last 2:48, while Sisinni hit a bank 15-footer and was fouled, giving Coastal Caroilna a 50-25 advantage. Jourdan Morris made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 50-26 at the break.
Three Chanticleers were in double figures at the half. Sisinni had 13 points and three assists. Sexton had 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while Harris had 10 points and six rebounds. Coastal Carolina forced High Point into 12 turnovers and 37 percent shooting at the break. The Panthers were led by Short’s nine points and five rebounds.
High Point would outscore Coastal Carolina 43-32 in the second half, cutting a 30-point lead to 13 points on two separate occasions. Harris’ free throw at 14:59 gave the Chants their largest lead of the game (60-30). High Point would then go on an 18-4 run, as David Singleton’s jumper at 8:50 cut the lead to 64-48. Sexton then hit a big three on the next possession. Coastal Carolina got the lead back to 21 points, but the Panthers would trim the lead to 72-59 on a Short free throw at 3:37. Time would run out on the Panthers, though, as the Chants used a Sisinni three and seven free throws in the last 2:12 to move to 1-1 in Big South play.
Sexton had a career high 22 points in the win, going 6-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-9 from three-point range. Harris had his third consecutive double-double, scoring 17 points and adding 12 rebounds. Sisinni added 16 points and five assists, while Edwards was the fourth Chant in double figures with 11 points.
Short had a double-double for the Panthers, scoring 17 points and adding 13 rebounds. Cruz Daniels added 15 points, while Morris had 13.
Coastal Carolina ended the game shooting 58.1 percent and 9-of-17 from three-point range. The Chants also were 23-of-31 from the free-throw line. High Point shot 36.1 percent from the floor and was just 5-of-25 from three-point range.
Coastal Carolina will host Radford Monday, Jan. 5 at 7:30 p.m., in Kimbel Arena. The game is part of a women’s-men’s doubleheader. High Point is at Winthrop Wedneday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.