Men's Basketball Drops Big South Opener At VMI, 88-77


Men's Basketball Drops Big South Opener At VMI, 88-77

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LEXINGTON, VA – For the first time in five meetings, Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team was defeated by host VMI, 88-77, Sat., Jan. 7 in Lexington, VA. With their 11th consecutive road loss, the Chanticleers fell to 6-6 and 0-1 in the Big South, while the Keydets advanced to 6-7 and 1-1 in league play.

The two teams exchanged early baskets and leads, with Coastal grabbing a 9-8 advantage with just over 15 minutes to play in the first half. However, the Keydets went on a 12-0 run over the next 2:47 to take a 20-9 lead. The Chants chipped away at the lead throughout the remainder of the half, slowly bringing the margin down and getting as close as one at 37-36 with 1:47 to go in the half. Again, the teams traded buckets and VMI entered the lockerroom with a slim 43-41 halftime lead.

Coastal hit on 47.1 percent (16-for-34) from the floor in the early going, but VMI blistered the nets at 59.3 percent (16-for-27) from the field. CCU outrebounded VMI 18-11 in the opening stanza, including nine second-chance points off seven offensive rebounds. Both teams had six turnovers, but the Chanticleers were able to get five more points off those, outscoring the hosts 9-4.

CCU was led by guard Jack Leasure with 11 points, including three triples, while guard Pele Paelay and forward Moses Sonko each chipped in 10. VMI was led by Matt Murrer with 14, while Reggie Williams and Justin Jarman had eight apiece.

Coastal grabbed the lead early in the second half, going up 49-48 less than two minutes into the first half. However, that would be the last lead the Chanticleers would have in the game, as the Keydets slowly built a lead of as many as nine on two occasions. CCU did muster a comeback, cutting the game to 71-69 with just 3:57 to play, but could not get the key basket to re-take the lead. VMI hit free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.

VMI finished the game strong, hitting 57.7 percent (30-for-52) from the floor while Coastal hit on just 45.3 (29-for-64). The big difference in the game came at the charity stripe, as the Keydets were 21-for-27, while Coastal was just 10-for-12.

Coastal was paced by Paelay with 24, while Sonko tied a season high with 18 points. Leasure finished with 18. VMI was led by guard Reggie Williams with a game-high 26 points, with Matt Murrer and Justin Jarman contributing 19 and 10, respectively.

CCU continues a three-game road trip to open Big South play, taking on High Point, Mon., Jan. 9. Tip off at the Millis Center is at 7 p.m.