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Men's Basketball Remains On The Road To Take On High Point

       

Men's Basketball Remains On The Road To Take On High Point

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COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL

CHANTICLEERS vs. PANTHERS

High Point's Millis Center (2,565) ~ High Point, North Carolina
Monday, January 9, 2006 ~ 7 p.m.
www.GoCCUSports.com

COASTAL CLIPS

CHANTS CONTINUE BIG SOUTH PLAY ON THE ROAD: Coastal Carolina remains on the road for the second of three games away from home to kick off Big South Conference play, tonight taking on High Point. The Chanticleers started with an 88-77 loss at VMI, Sat., Jan. 7 and will wrap up the road swing at Birmingham-Southern, Sat., Jan. 14.

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his first season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 172-115 overall coaching record in nine-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.

Bart Lundy (Winthrop, ’93) is in his third season at High Point with a 40-33 record and in his eighth year as a head coach overall with a 155-72 mark. Last season, High Point was 13-18 overall and 7-9 in the Big South, tying for fourth. The Panthers return two starters and six letterwinners from last year's squad.

SERIES HISTORY: This is the 17th meeting in the brief series between the two schools, with Coastal holding a 9-7 advantage. Coastal has posted a 3-4 mark in the Millis Center. However, High Point won both of last seaosn's meetings, including a 79-72 win at the Millis Center late last season. (Recaps and box scores of last year's meetings are available on page 8.)

PETERSON AGAINST THE PANTHERS: This is the first time that head coach Buzz Peterson has faced High Point in his coaching career.

CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and the last two years' numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. In 2003-04, 11 of CCU's 16 Big South contests were decided by nine points or less, with Coastal holding a 4-7 mark in those games. Last year, CCU was 4-4 in its Big South games decided by nine or less. During the 2004-05 season, CCU defeated Winthrop by eight and lost by seven to Liberty. CCU earned a one-point win at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 24. The Chants dropped a gut-wrenching two-point game at Charleston Southern, Feb. 3, but rebounded with a five-point win over VMI, Feb. 5. Coastal dropped a seven-point game at High Point, Feb. 12 and a four-point loss at Liberty, Feb. 14. Finally, Coastal defeated Charleston Southern by three at Kimbel Arena, Feb. 21.

FROM DOWNTOWN...BANG!: Sophomore Jack Leasure continues to believe -- and prove -- that outside the three-point arc is his domain. Through 12 games this season, the guard has hit 58 three-pointers, an average of 4.8 per game, which leads NCAA Division I by 0.6 triples per contest. He leads players like Chris Lofton of Tennessee (fifth), J.J. Redick of Duke (seventh) and Missouri's Thomas Gardner (20th). Additionally as of Jan. 3, he ranks 20th nationally in three-point field goal percentage with 47.2.

As a team, Coastal is also among the nation's leaders in triples. The Chanticleers are averaging 9.5 threes per game, which as of Jan. 3 ranks them 10th in Division I.

THE STARTING LINEUP IS SET... FOR NOW: Coastal Carolina, under first year head coach Buzz Peterson, has tweaked the lineup through the first six games but has settled on the same starting five in five of the last seven games, with the group posting a 3-2 mark so far. In the first 12 games, the Chanticleers have had seven different starting lineups. However, three players (Pele Paelay, Jack Leasure and Moses Sonko) have started all 12 games and one other (Chad Ferguson) has started nine. Guard Mario Sisinni has joined the starting lineup in six of the last seven contests.

STRONG IN BIG SOUTH OPENERS: In their 21 Big South Conference openers, Coastal Carolina has posted an impressive 16-5 mark overall. Of those, CCU has now played 12 on the road, with an 8-4 record. The Chants also hold a 10-11 mark in their first Big South road games overall. However of the last seven Big South openers, Coastal has played five on the road and has only been 1-4 in those games.

THE WINDING ROAD HAS NOT BEEN KIND: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South in 2003-04, CCU was 2-6 on the road in the Big South last season, with wins at VMI (Jan. 10) and Birmingham-Southern (Jan. 24) and 2-14 in road games overall.

CCU dropped its first six road games of the 2005-06 season at Jacksonville State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, UNC Wilmington, Eastern Kentucky and VMI. As a matter of fact, Coastal has lost its last 16 non-conference road games, dating back to the 2003-04 season opener at Marist. CCU also enters tonight's contest with a 11-game road losing streak overall, including a six-game Big South streak dating back midway through the Big South schedule last year.

DRAINING AND DISHING: Sophomore guard Jack Leasure has been getting the job done in a variety of ways early this year. Leasure continues to hit the outside shot, as he has drained 58 triples on 47.2 percent shooting this year and is leading the Chanticleers in scoring at 19.8 points per game. However, he has also taken on some point guard duties and made that work, as he is averaging 4.6 assists per game, including a career-best nine dishes wins twice this year, as well as 2.1 steals per contest.

After averaging 22.5 points a game during the week of Dec. 12-18, including a career-best 33 in the win over MEAC-preseason favorite South Carolina State, Leasure was named Big South Player of the Week for the first time in his career Dec. 19.

AT YOUR LEASURE: Sophomore Jack Leasure was impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his freshman season. 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. Leasure then had a career high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Hawai’i Nov. 26. He scored 23 points, including at High Point, Feb. 12, 2004. He averaged 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and hit 42.5 percent (85-of-200) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also led the league and ranked 29th nationally in three-pointers per game with 2.93. Leasure improved his averages to 15.8 points (third in the Big South) and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play.

This season, Leasure leads the Chants in scoring, averaging a team-high 19.8 points a game (fifth in the Big South) and adding 3.9 rebounds. He has hit a league and national-best 58 three-pointers (4.8 per game), including a career-best nine in a recent win over Chowan, Dec. 19. He currently ranks third on CCU's all-time three-pointers chart with 143 in just 41 games. His nine three pointers tied for the second-best performance in school history, while his seven three-pointers against Coker, Nov. 30, and St. Andrews, Jan. 3, tied for the fifth best single games in Coastal history. He also has 55 assists (third in the league) and 25 steals (also third in the Big South) so far this year.

SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL’S VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal is 6-2 when leading at the break, 6-0 when ahead with five minutes to play and 6-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal is 5-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 4-2 when outrebounding the opposition. CCU is also 6-2 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. Another interesting note is that when guard Jack Leasure leads Coastal is scoring, the Chants are 5-1.

STEPPING UP THE DEFENSE: In winning six of its last 10 games, the Chanticleers have made the difference on the defensive end of the floor. In the six victories, Coastal has given up just 60.5 points per game and just 42.6 percent (127-for-298) shooting from the floor. Additionally, the Chants have forced 7.3 more turnovers a game in the wins, including 11.5 steals per game. Coastal has also outrebounded its opponents by 4.5 caroms a game in the six victories.

This doesn't mean Coastal hasn't been solid offensively as well in the wins. The Chants have hit on 49.2 percent (183-for-372) of their shots from the floor, including 42.9 percent (66-for-154) from the three-point arc.

Individually, guard Jack Leasure has been the leader for the Chants in the five victories, averaging 26.0 points per game in the wins. Additionally, Leasure has hit 56.0 percent (51-for-91) of his shots from the floor, including 38 three pointers and 52.1 percent (38-for-73) shooting from beyond the arc. He also has 3.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game in the six victories.

PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Senior Pele Paelay made things happen offensively for Coastal in the 2004-05 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. Paelay had a career-high 38 points and eight rebounds in the win at VMI, Jan. 10. The 38 points are the sixth most in school history and best in the league this year, while his 14 field goals tied for third in CCU annals. For the season, Paelay averaged a league-bests of 16.8 points and 2.4 steals per game and added 6.0 rebounds. He also led CCU in scoring 15 times and 12 times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 27 of 29 contests. He was the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (6th) and steals (1st) and was 11th in assists.

This season, Paelay is averaging 15.6 points (seventh in the Big South) and 5.0 rebounds (17th in the league) in 12 contests. He had his best game of the season so far at VMI, Jan. 7, scoring 24 points and adding seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.

Prior to that, his top game had been at Minnesota, where he tallied a game-high 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from the three-point arc. He added two rebounds, five assists and one steal in the effort. He tied that mark with 23 points in the home win over Jacksonville, Dec. 11.

He also has 920 points in his career, just 80 from becoming the 13th player in Coastal history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. At his current pace with no games missed, he would reach the mark at Winthrop, Jan. 24.

A TOUGH BIG SOUTH OPENER AT VMI: For the first time in five meetings, Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team dropped its 11th consecutive road game in a loss at VMI, 88-77, Sat., Jan. 7 in Lexington, VA.

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.

STEPPING UP INSIDE: Sophomore forward Chad Ferguson has been active on the interior for Coastal this season. After averaging just 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds per game last year, Ferguson is currently averaging 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds a contest. He posted a career-best 11 points in the win over Jacksonville, Dec. 11, and had already set new career bests in points, rebounds, assists and steals within the first five games this season.

MAKING THE DEBUT A POSITIVE ONE: Freshman Matt Brennan had a positive impact in the opener at Jacksonville State, Nov. 21. In his collegiate debut, Brennan started and played 28 minutes, scoring 15 points, including 3-for-3 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line.

Brennan is currently fifth for Coastal in scoring at 4.0 points per game and is fourth on the squad in rebounding at 3.6 boards per contest.

SEXTON SHOWING SIGNS ON THE COURT: Freshman guard Steven Sexton has been getting more playing time in recent days and making the most of it. In the last four games, he has been playing 18.8 minutes a contest and averaging 7.8 points, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He had his best game of the year in the win over Ohio Valley, tallying career highs of 11 points and six assists in the victory.

Sexton is currently averaging 4.0 points, 0.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season.

WHERE'S THE BENCH?: Coastal is continuing to look for support from the bench after its first 12 games of the season and found it in one of its most recent outings. The Chanticleers got a season-high 50 points from the reserves in the victory over Ohio Valley, Dec. 28.

For the season, Coastal has gotten 186 points off the bench in the first 12 contests of the year, just 21.7 percent of the offensive production for the Chanticleers. The second-best output came in the South Carolina State game, as the bench chipped in 22 points (30.6 percent) in CCU's third consecutive home victory over South Carolina State Dec. 14. Coastal also got 22 points off the bench in the win over St. Andrews, Jan. 3.

TONIGHT'S INJURY REPORT: For the game at High Point, forward Logan Johnson (right knee) is out.

YOUTH IS SERVED THIS YEAR: Of the 16 players on the Coastal roster to open this season, eight are freshmen new to the team, while a ninth redshirted last year. Among the returners, there are two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores.

KIMBEL HAS ITS ADVANTAGES: Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena may seat just over 1,000 fans, but it had been large for the Chanticleers the previous 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 finished 8-5 in 2004-05. CCU did open the 2005-06 home schedule with a resounding 70-35 victory over Coker. The Chanticleers are 6-0 this season at home and now 18-3 since the start of the 2002-03 season in non-conference games at home.

A TOUGH DEFENSIVE BATTLE LOST AT EKU: The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team battled in a hard-fought game but came up short in a 60-51 loss at Eastern Kentucky, Dec. 30.

Coastal got off to a good start, as guard Pele Paelay grabbed the opening tip and knocked down a three-pointer for a 3-0 CCU lead just six seconds in. The Chanticleers eventually built that into a 13-6 lead just 4:26 into the contest. However, EKU had an answer for that, going on a 13-4 run that gave the Colonels a 22-17 lead with 7:59 to go in the first half. After the teams traded baskets to make it 27-22 EKU, the Chants played solid defense down the last 3:50 of the half, shutting out the host and entering the halftime lockerroom with a 28-27 advantage.

Coastal hit on just 37.5 percent (12-for-32) of its shots from the floor in the first half, but limited EKU to just 34.8 percent (8-for-23). The Chanticleers held a 21-15 advantage on the board, including 10 offensive rebounds. CCU also got 14 bench points and outscored the hosts 14-6 in the paint.

Paelay led Coastal with seven points, as seven CCU players got in the scoring column, four of them with four or more. EKU was led by guard Matt Witt with 11 points, including a pair of triples.

The two teams exchanged five leads and had five ties in the second half, as the game continued to be a battle. With the score knotted at 44 with 6:24 to play, EKU took the lead for good on a 7-0 run, capped off by Jason McLeish's three-pointer to put the Colonels up 51-44 with just over three minutes to play. A conventional three-point play by forward Moses Sonko cut the game to four, but that was as close as Coastal would get down the stretch.

The Chants shot just 35.1 percent (20-for-57) for the game while holding the Colonels down to just 36.7 percent (18-for-49). CCU outrebounded EKU 41-30, but the difference was turnovers, as Coastal committed 19 miscues, 14 in the second half, and Eastern Kentucky turned those into 24 points. EKU also was 18-for-23 from the free throw line, while Coastal was just 6-for-7.

Paelay led CCU with 12 points and six rebounds, while guard Jack Leasure was the only other Coastal player in double figures with 10 points. EKU was led by Witt with a game-high 24, with McLeish adding 10.

A RESOUNDING RETURN FROM THE BREAK: The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team returned from an eight-day holiday break to defeat Ohio Valley, 109-76, Dec. 28 in Kimbel Arena. This is the first time that Coastal has eclipsed the 100-point mark since Dec. 28, 2003 when CCU scored 115 in a win over Lees-McRae.

It was a running game throughout, as OVU got the opening bucket and actually led on two other occasions, including an 11-10 margin with 13:28 to go in the game. However, Coastal put on a spurt, scoring the next 17 points of the contest to take a 27-11 lead the Chants would never relinquish. The CCU lead was cut to 12 at 38-26 on Austin McGee's layup with 5:44 to go in the half, but Coastal pushed the advantage back out with a 15-1 run over the next three minutes to lead 52-27 before settling for a 56-35 halftime advantage.

The Chants shot a stellar 59.0 percent (23-for-39) in the first half, while the Fighting Scots hit on 50.0 percent (15-for-30) from the floor. The difference in field goals could be directly attributed to turnovers, as CCU forced 17 Ohio Valley miscues compared to just five for Coastal. The Chants then outscored the Scots 28-2 off those turnovers in the opening stanza.

CCU was led by guard Jack Leasure with 16 points, including four three pointers, and also chipped in five assists. Guard Pele Paelay was behind him with 13 points. Ohio Valley was paced by center Marlon Pierre with 11 points, while guard Will Spencer had nine at the intermission.

Coastal continued to maintain their stronghold throughout the second half, leading by no fewer than 22 in the final period and pushing the margin to as many as 39 at 96-57 with 7:25 to play. With the lead, all 14 Chanticleers dressed saw playing time in the contest, with 11 registering in the scoring column.

The Chants finished the game hitting 58.9 percent (43-for-73) from the floor, including 46.2 percent (12-for-26) from the three-point arc. Ohio Valley was 49.2 percent (30-for-61) from the field and 50.0 percent (7-for-14) from beyond the line. The difference came down to turnovers, as CCU had 38 points off 26 OVU turnovers, with the Chants collecting 17 steals. The Chants also got out on the break, tallying 35 fast-break points and getting a season-high 50 points from the bench.

Paelay led all scorers with 20 points, as the Chants had six players in double figures and two more with at least eight points. Leasure added 19 points, nine assists, five steals, three rebounds and just one turnover. Senior guard Colin Stevens scored a season-high 12 points, while forwards Matt Brennan and Moses Sonko and guard Steven Sexton each contributed 11. Sexton's was a season-best for the freshman.

Ohio Valley was led by Spencer with 18, with forward Chris Cobbina and Pierre finishing with 17 and 14, respectively.

A SURPRISING PRESEASON POLL: Coastal was picked to finish second in the 2005 Big South Preseason Poll, announced at the league's annual Media Day in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 15. The poll, voted on by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members, selected Winthrop as the first-ever unanimous favorite, as the Eagles return all five starters from last year's championship team. UNC Asheville was selected third, one point behind Coastal. Liberty was picked fourth, followed by High Point, Birmingham-Southern, Radford, Charleston Southern and VMI, respectively.

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.