CHANTICLEERS HEAD ON THE ROAD TO VIRGINIA: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team heads on the road for its next two Big South Conference games, starting at Radford, Sat., Jan. 8. CCU will also take on VMI, Mon., Jan. 10, before returning to Conway.
SERIES HISTORY: Radford holds the lead in the all-time series against CCU, 28-11 and the Highlanders are 15-4 at home against Coastal. The last CCU win at Radford occurred during the 1990-91 season, when Coastal won the Big South title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Last year, Radford won two of the three meetings, but CCU got the biggest one by defeating the visiting Highlanders in the opening round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Tournament.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 64-117 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.
Byron Samuels (UNC Asheville, 86) is in his third season at Radford, with a 27-42 record as a head coach for the Highlanders and 44-77 in four-plus seasons as a head coach overall. Last season, Radford was 12-16 overall and 7-9 in league play, finishing sixth in league play.
THIRD STRAIGHT BIG SOUTH OPENER WIN: Coastal Carolina put together its third consecutive Big South opener win in the victory over Winthrop, Jan. 5. CCU won last year's home opener over Liberty in dramatic fashion, as E.J. Gallup's three in the final seconds gave Coastal a 67-65 victory. In 2002-03, the Chanticleers won both their "unofficial" opener over Birmingham Southern, 74-64, and the official game at Winthrop, 64-50.
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.
HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal has hit early and often from long range in the 2004-05 season. The Chanticleers have knocked down an average of 7.0 three pointers a game on 38.1 percent shooting. Over the last seven games, Coastal has hit on 44.4 percent from the arc, connecting on 51-of-116 attempts.
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 Jan. 3. Jack Leasure ranks 28th in three-point field goal percentage at 45.6 percent, while Pele Paelay ranks 37th in steals at 2.6 per game.
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 most recently scored a career-best 24 points, including five three-pointers, in the home win over Winthrop, Jan. 5. He is now averaging 12.8 points and hitting 46.2 percent (36-of-78) from the three-point arc.
DEFEATING THE EAGLES IN THE BIG SOUTH OPENER: Coastal Carolina University came out running early and made it stand, defeating Winthrop University 76-68 at Kimbel Arena in the opener of Big South play for both squads, Jan. 5.
After Winthrop grabbed the early lead at 6-2 in the first two minutes, the Chanticleers got it rolling, going on a 22-5 run over the next 6:44 to grab a 24-11 lead with 11:38 to play in the first half. Coastal maintained a double-digit lead throughout the most of the half, but led by just nine, 40-31, at the intermission. The 40 first half points scored by CCU were the most Winthrop has given up in the opening half this season.
Both teams were strong offensively in the first half, as the Eagles hit 58.3 percent from the field, while CCU was 51.7 percent from the field includiing 53.8 percent from the three-point arc. Coastal freshman Jack Leasure knocked down four three-pointers in the opening stanza and finished with 14. Winthrop was led by Junior Otis Daniels with 12 points and four rebounds.
The Eagles came out of the lockeroom firing and were able to close Coastals lead to five at 15:44 on Torrell Martins jumper. Sparked by junior Pele Paelays aggressive play, including eight points and one steal over the next six minutes, the Chants surged back to a 60-44 advantage with 9:26 left to play. Winthrop clawed their way back into the game cutting the Chants lead to nine with 3:10 left to play, but could not sustain the momentum as the Chants offensive play down the stretch was the difference. The Chants forced the Eagles into late fouls and converted their chances, going 6-for-8 from the line in the last three minutes of play. WUs Michael Jenkins three pointer pulled the Eagles within seven with just 34 seconds left in the contest, but CCU held on.
This was the first win for the Chanticleers in the last three meetings, with Coastal holding a 31-24 advantage overall. Even though Winthrop out rebounded Coastal 39-34, Coastal was able to convert 16 Winthrop miscues into 21 points and outscored the Eagles 18-5 on the fast break.
Offensively, Leasure led all scorers with career-best 24, while Paelay added 17 points and senior Alvin Green chipped in 14. Daniels was the leading scorer for the Eagles with 18 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. Martin and Scott Draughn each added 14.
GETTING THE WIN IN THE BIG SOUTH TOURNAMENT OVER THE HIGHLANDERS: Fourth-seeded Coastal Carolina captured a historic victory Tuesday night, defeating fifth seed Radford, 67-62, in the first round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Mens Basketball Tournament. The win marks the Chanticleers first conference tournament victory since the 1992-93 season, and breaks a 14-game losing streak to the Highlanders. Coastal moves to 14-14 on the year, the most wins under head coach Pete Strickland and the most since the 1993-94 team went 15-11. Radford finishes the season at 12-16.
Both teams came out firing in the first half, with Coastal opening up play with a three-pointer from senior E.J. Gallup 43 seconds in. The lead went back and forth, with the two teams seeing five ties in the first half alone. The Chants went 13-of-30 for 43.3 percent and Radford nearly matched that, going 13-of-31 for 41.9 percent, and the teams went into the intermission in a 35-35 tie.
Radford jumped out to the lead in the second half, going up by as much as seven, 46-39, with 12:56 left to play. But Coastal hung in and put together a 10-0 run over 3:52, capped by senior Kelvin Coggins three-pointer, to take the lead for good at 49-46. The Chants maintained the lead and were up by as much as 11, 62-51, with 1:10 left on the clock. The Highlanders made a late rally, as sophomore Whit Holcomb-Faye connected from beyond the arc with nine seconds left to cut the lead to 65-59, but CCU sophomore Pele Paelay put the exclamation mark on the victory with a resounding dunk off a Coggins assist.
Gallup led all scorers in the game, posting 21 points and grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Bench play was also huge for the Chants, with 29 points coming from reserves, including 11 from Big South All-Freshman selection Moses Sonko and a season-high 10 from Coggins. Radford had three players in double digits as well, led by junior Olumuyiwa Popoola with 14 points and nine boards. Holcomb-Faye and Gill added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
CCU outrebounded the Highlanders, 46-39, and forced 16 turnovers while only committing eight.
LAST YEAR'S HEARTBREAKER AT RADFORD: RUs Olumuyiwa Popoola sunk a leaning layup with two seconds remaining and senior Brandon Newby missed a layup as time expired to give the Highlanders a 77-76 overtime win against Coastal Carolina, January 24, 2004, at the Dedmon Center.
The two teams traded buckets for most of the first half, with the largest lead by either team a five-point advantage on a trey by senior E.J. Gallup. RU's Whit Holcomb-Faye hit a three-pointer with six seconds left in the period to give RU a 35-33 halftime advantage.
The Chanticleers built their second-half lead with a 13-point run, capped by a Gallup layup with 14:08 remaining, giving CCU a 49-39 lead. Another 8-1 run gave the Chants a 14-point advantage with 9:20 remaining, their largest lead of the game.
The Highlanders responded with a 10-1 run to pull back within five with 7:03 left. Coastal pushed the lead back out to nine, and held a seven point edge with 40 seconds remaining. A free throw by Olumuyiwa Popoola and a three-pointer by Chris Goodin pulled RU within three. Radford then forced a turnover, and another trey from Goodin tied the game.
In overtime, CCU was five-of-eight from the charity stripe, but failed to hit a field goal. With 1:30 left to play, the Chants held a one-point advantage, 76-75, but a Popoola jumper with two seconds on the clock won the game for the Highlanders.
Newby led all scorers with 24 points. He also led the Chants with seven rebounds. In all, Coastal Carolina placed four players in double figures. Alvin Green had 14 and Anthony Susnjara and E.J. Gallup each tallied 12 points. Popoola led with 22 points, and Aarom Gill grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
THE REGULAR SEASON HOME GAME WITH RADFORD:Coastal Carolinas mens basketball squad could not overcome a 28-percent shooting effort in the first half and fell to visiting Radford, 84-75, Feb. 16, 2004. Radford swept the season series between the two teams.
The two teams went back and forth in the first five minutes of the game with the game tied at seven at the 15:43 mark. Radford then went on an 13-2 run over the next 4:13 to take a 20-9 lead that the Highlanders would never relinquish. RU would build the lead to as many as 19, 34-15 with 6:07 to go in the first half. Coastal, which hit just 8-of-28 in the first half, cut it to 10 late in the first half, but Aaron Gills three-pointer pushed the lead to 13 at the intermission, 44-31.
After Radford pushed the lead back up to 17 at 59-42 with 12 minutes to play, Coastal began chipping away. A 10-2 run by the Chanticleers cut it to 51-42 with 9:07 to go, but Radford made a 10-4 run to make the lead 15 again with 6:23 to play. CCU had one last run, cutting the lead to three on three separate occasions, the last at 75-72 with 2:17 to go. But a late turnover by the Chants and a three-pointer by Whit Holcomb-Faye with 1:16 to play pushed it back to six and Coastal could get no closer down the stretch.
Coastal Carolina was led by senior E.J. Gallup, who scored a career-high 33 points, but was the only Chanticleer in double figures. Gallup hit 12-of-21 from the field, including 7-of-12 from the three-point arc. Radford was paced by Chris Goodin with 18 points, while Chris Oliver chipped in 16 points. Holcomb-Faye added a double-double of 13 points and 13 assists for the Highlanders. Radford hit on 55.6 percent of its shots from the field, including 9-of-18 from the three-point line and 65 percent from the floor in the second half.
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 17 points, five rebounds and four assists in the home win over Winthrop, Jan. 5. For the season, Paelay is averaging 16.5 points, 6.5 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 11 of 13 contests. He is the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (3rd), rebounding (6th), assists (4th) and steals (1st).
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 eight games, he has averaged 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. He is now averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds on the year.
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 6.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game. With his four assists at Tennessee, he moved into fifth on CCU's all-time assists chart and now stands at 357, just 19 behind Greg Moody (1984-88) in fourth with 376.
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.