CHANTICLEERS OPEN THE 2005 BIG SOUTH SLATE:Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team opens the 2005 Big South Conference campaign by hosting one of its chief rivals, the Winthrop Eagles. CCU comes in after losing its last non-conference game at Tennessee, 83-51, Jan. 2. The Eagles enter the game on the heels of a 90-62 win over Ferrum, Jan. 2.
SERIES HISTORY: Coastal holds a 30-24 advantage over Winthrop, including a 19-8 mark at Kimbel Arena. However, the Eagles swept last season's series, winning a pair of one-point games over the Chanticleers, 66-65 at Kimbel Arena and then 51-50 at the Winthrop Coliseum.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 63-117 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.
Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon, 85) is in his seventh season at Winthrop, with a 115-64 record as a head coach for the Eagles and as a head coach overall. Last season, Winthrop was 16-12 overall and 10-6 in league play, tying for third in the regular season.
ENTERING BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE PLAY: Coastal enters the 2005 Big South season after posting their most successful league campaign in 10 years last season. In 2003-04, CCU had eight Big South victories and won its first tournament game since the 1993-94 season. CCU has also won its last two Big South openers.
ROAD WOES: Coastal has struggled on the road this season, going winless in its seven contests away from home. CCU looks to turn it around quickly as two of its first three Big South contests are away from home.
LEASURE NAMED BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK FOR SECOND STRAIGHT TIME: Coastal Carolina's Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) was named the Big South Conference/New Balance Men's Basketball Freshman of the Week, Jan. 3. This is the second straight time he has won the honor and the second weekly award for the Chanticleers this season.
The freshman guard averaged 8.0 points and 1.7 rebounds in three contests over the two holiday weeks. He hit 46.2 percent (6-for-13) of his shots from the three-point arc and tallied 12 points at the College of Charleston, Dec. 22, and nine points at Tennessee, Jan. 2. For the season, Leasure is averaging 11.8 points a game, including hitting 45.6 percent (31-for-68) on three-pointers.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Coastal has two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories as of Dec. 20. Pele Paelay ranks 12th in steals at 3.2 per game, while Jack Leasure ranks 38th in three-point field goal percentage at 45.5 percent.
KIMBEL HAS ITS ADVANTAGES: Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena may seat just over 1,000 fans, but it has been large for the Chanticleers the last two seasons. Coastal was 9-1 in non-conference play during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, with the only loss a 73-72 heartbreaker to the College of Charleston early in the 2003-04 season. Coastal was a combined 17-9 at home over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, and advanced to 3-2 in 2004-05 with its win over Ohio Northern, Dec. 29.
AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure has been impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first 12 collegiate games. He opened his collegiate career Nov. 19 with 16 points against Indiana State and followed it up with 17 points, including five three-pointers, at Evansville, Nov. 21. He added 15 points, including three triples at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Leasure then had a career high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Hawaii Nov. 26. He recently scored 17 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 3-for-5 from the three-point arc against Coker, Dec. 12. He is now averaging 11.8 points a game and hitting 45.6 percent (31-of-68) from the three-point arc.
THE VOLUNTEERS WEREN'T HELPFUL HOSTS: Coastal Carolina Universitys mens basketball team got off to a slow start it couldnt overcome and lost at Tennessee, 83-51, Jan. 2.
Tennessee came out on fire in the first half, opening the game on a 26-5 run over the first 8:20 of the game and never looked back. The Volunteers shot a blistering 66.7 percent (20-for-30) from the field in the first half and pushed the margin to as many as 27 in the opening stanza on two occasions, including leading the Chanticleers 48-21 at the intermission. UTs Scooter McFadgon led all scorers with 19 in the first half, while senior Clint Nagel and freshman Jack Leasure each had six for CCU.
The Vols continued to build on the lead in the second half, eventually leading by 40 at 71-31 with 8:44 to go, and inserted their reserves into the game. CCU did manage to get it baack to within 26 late in the contest at 77-51 with 1:55 to go.
Coastal never found its offensive rhythm, hitting just 30.8 percent from the field, while the Volunteers finished the game at 53.3 percent. Rebounds were another key, as Coastal was outrebounded 51-30 on the afternoon. CCU did manage to hit 38.9 percent (7-for-18) from the three-point arc and had just 10 turnovers on the afternoon.
Junior guard Pele Paelay was the only Chanticleer in double figures with 14 points and tied for the team high with six rebounds. Tennessee was led by McFadgon with 19, all in the first half, while Chris Lofton chipped in 12.
LAST YEAR'S HOME CONTEST AGAINST WINTHROP: In another classic battle in the series, Coastal Carolina held the lead most of the game, but faltered late and lost at home to Winthrop in the closing seconds, 66-65, Jan. 17, 2004.
Winthrop jumped out to an early lead in the first half, opening play with a three pointer from junior Brandon Key and going up 12-5 in the first six minutes of play. Coastal slowly fought back and eventually pulled ahead at 19-18 with 9:28 to go in the half. The teams battled throughout the rest of the period, and Coastal carried a four-point lead into the halftime break, 36-32.
Coastal could not build more than an eight-point lead and kept the lead for 16 minutes of the second half until Winthrop pulled ahead, 57-56, on a Marcus Cooke layup with 4:03 left to play. The Chants immediately answered with a jumper by Kelvin Coggins and pushed the lead back to four at 62-58 on Mihai Raducanus layup with 2:38 to go. However, Winthrops Tyrone Walker, the 2003-04 preseason Big South Player of the Year, made his impact in the closing minutes, scoring seven of the Eagles final eight points, including the game winner with nine seconds to play.
Coastal struggled at the charity stripe, hitting only 10 of 22 attempts. Four Chanticleers scored in double digits, led by E.J. Gallup and Alvin Green, who each contributed 13. Raducanu had a complete game, scoring 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Winthrop was led by Walker, with a game-high 15 points and eight boards, while Cooke and Key each added 11.
ANOTHER HEARTBREAKING FINISH AT WINTHROP: In the second meeting of the two teams in 2003-04, Winthrops James Shuler connected on a three-pointer with 7.4 seconds left in the game to cap a miraculous 51-50 come-from-behind Big South Conference victory over Coastal Carolina, Feb. 4, 2004. The Eagles won both games of the regular season series with the Chanticleers by one point.
Shuler, who was questionable before the game because of an ankle injury, came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points for Winthrop, which trailed 34-22 at halftime and found itself down by 16 in the second half at 41-25 with 16:28 left in the game.
Coastal still appeared to have the game under control with six minutes remaining as it led 45-35. A Shuler layup and a jumper sandwiched around a free throw by Marcus Cooke, drew the Eagles to within seven points at 47-40 with 2:28 left on the clock. Coastals Alvin Green drove for a layup to keep his team ahead by nine with just over two minutes remaining when the Eagles made their final push on the strength of a tenacious full-court press and timely baskets by Shuler and Brandon Key. It was Keys 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 49-46 with 1:08 left. Marcus Cookes steal and layup cut the Coastal lead to one point with 35 seconds remaining and his rebound of a missed free throw by Green set up the game-winning shot by Shuler.
Coastal still had one last shot at winning the game, but a running jumper by E.J. Gallup just left of the lane danced on the rim before falling off into the hands of Cooke as the final buzzer sounded.
Winthrop was able to win despite shooting just 32.6 percent (15-46) from the floor and getting outrebounded 42-35. The Winthrop defense proved big in the game as it held Coastals shooters to just 34.5 percent (19-55).
Cooke was the only other Winthrop player to reach double figures with 10 points while Coastal Carolina was led by Alvin Greens 13 points. Pele Paelay scored 11 while Moses Sonko added 10 off the bench.
PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Junior Pele Paelay has made things happen offensively for Coastal this season. Paelay knocked down a career-high 27 points and made it his first career double-double with 11 rebounds at Evansville, Nov. 23. He later followed up that performance with 22 points and 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Most recently, Paelay had game highs of 20 points and eight rebounds in the win over Ohio Northern, Dec. 29. For the season, Paelay is averaging 16.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals a game, with points and steals team highs. He has also led CCU in scoring six times and four times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 10 of 12 contests. He is the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (3rd), rebounding (7th), assists (4th) and steals (2nd).
HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal hit early and often from long range in the 2003-04 season. The Chanticleers hit on 37.6 percent and 6.7 per game from the three-point arc this season. That mark includes knocking down 11 three-pointers in the game against Yale, Nov. 23, and matching it with 11 at East Carolina, Nov. 29. Those two marks tied the most triples hit since Coastal drained 16 against High Point, Feb. 9, 2002.
This season, Coastal has knocked down an average of 6.8 three pointers a game on 37.1 percent shooting.
MOSES DOING HIS "PART" FOR THE TEAM: Sophomore Moses Sonko has started to look like the player CCU fans saw last year. After earning Big South All-Freshman team honors in 2003-04, Sonko had an early season injury that only recently he has gotten over. It showed again versus Jacksonville State, Dec. 14, as Sonko tied career-highs with 21 points and nine rebounds in the victory. In the last seven games, he has averaged 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.
GETTING IN THE WIN COLUMN AGAINST OHIO NORTHERN:
Coastal Carolina University defeated Ohio Northern, 63-45, Wednesday evening at Kimbel Arena.
Coastal was off and running in the first half taking a 8-6 lead four minutes into the contest before scoring 15 unanswered points to lead 23-6 with 8:16 to go in the half. The Polar Bears clawed their way back into the game 15-4 run over the next four minutes to cut the margin to six at 27-21. After several exchanges of baskets, Coastal took a 32-23 lead into the lockeroom.
Senior forward Clint Nagel led the way for CCU in the first half scoring seven points and grabbing five of Coastals 22 rebounds. The Chants were 10-for-23, including shooting 4-for-7 from the three-point arc and held the Polar Bears to 28.6 percent from the field.
Coastal kept the visitors at bay, not allowing them to get closer than seven points at any time in the second half. After leading by just nine at 50-41 with 7:18 to go in the game, the Chants outscored Ohio Northern 13-4 to close out the game.
The Chants did not trail in the contest and took advantage of the transition game outscoring ONU 15-2 on the fast break. Offensively, Coastal shot 47.9 percent from the field, including an impressive 55.6 percent from three-point range, a season high. Defense was also the name of the game as the Chants posted two season bests with lowest points allowed and lowest field goal percentage at 26.9 percent. Coastal also out rebounded the Polar Bears 45-37.
Junior guard Pele Paelay led all scorers with 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Moses Sonko was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and hit one free throw for 13 points. Greg Badenhop and Jared Bostelman each contributed 13 points for the Polar Bears.
DEFENSE GIVES COLD SHOULDER TO THE POLAR BEARS: Coastal's defense did its part in the victory over visiting Ohio Northern, Dec. 29. In the win, Coastal held the visitors to the lowest point total of the season by an opponent (45) and the lowest field-goal percentage (26.9 percent).
NICE TO SEE GREEN AGAIN: Senior guard Alvin Green returned to the Coastal Carolina lineup in 2003-04 after missing most of the previous season with a foot injury. Even though he missed almost three games with a sprained ankle in last year, he still averaged 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists a contest, but has upped his average to 8.2 points per game in Big South play. He ranked second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio and was sixth in assists.
This year, Green has overcome preseason surgery to his shooting hand and recently has started to show the confidence again in his game. In the win over Jacksonville State, Dec. 15, Green made his second start of the season and scored a season-high 20 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists in the victory. He has upped his averages to 5.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game. With his four assists at Tennessee, he is now fifth on CCU's all-time assists chart with 351, just passing Greg Smith (1994-98) with 350.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL'S VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning during the 2003-04 season. CCU was 13-4 when leading at halftime and 10-2 when leading with five minutes to play in the game. The Chants were 7-3 when they hit 45 percent or better from the field, 10-6 when hitting 70 percent or better from the free throw line and 8-1 when they got to the free throw line more than their opponent. Also, Coastal Carolina 9-2 when holding the opponent to less than 70 points and 8-4 when forcing 15 or more opponent turnovers. Conversely, when CCU trailed at halftime, it was 0-10 last year. That trend has continued this season, as the Chanticleers are 0-7 when trailing at halftime, with an average deficit of 12.8 points at the intermission in those games they trail at the half.
LIVE ON THE RADIO AND THE WEB: Coastal Carolina men's basketball will be broadcast live on "The Team", 93.9 FM, 93.7 FM and 1050 AM in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area, as well as on the Internet at www.GoCCUSports.com. Matt Hogue returns for his eighth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, a returning feature this year will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.