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Men's Basketball Looks to Get Back In Win Column at VMI

       

Men's Basketball Looks to Get Back In Win Column at VMI

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CHANTICLEERS FINISH BIG SOUTH ROAD TRIP: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team completes its first Big South road trip of the 2004-05 season, taking on the VMI Keydets, Mon., Jan. 10. CCU dropped the first game of the trip at Radford, 93-82, Jan. 8.

SERIES HISTORY: This is just third meeting between the Chanticleers and the Keydets. Last year, Coastal swept the only two other meetings, defeating VMI in Lexington, 49-32, and then getting the home win, 60-44.

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 64-118 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.

Bart Bellairs (Warren Wilson, ’79) is in his 11th season at VMI, with a 112-179 record as a head coach for the Keydets. Overall, he has a 133-206 record in his 13th season as a head coach overall. Last season, VMI posted a 6-22 record overall and finished seventh in the Big South Conference with a 4-12 mark.

ROAD WOES CONTINUE: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South last season, Coastal dropped its Big South road opener at Radford, Jan. 8. CCU has not put together a road win this season, going winless in its eight contests away from home. However, the Chanticleers did win on the road at VMI last season after losing a heartbreaker to Radford.

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.

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 6.9 three pointers a game on 37.7 percent shooting. Over the last eight games, Coastal has hit on 42.5 percent from the arc, connecting on 57-of-134 attempts.

LEASURE NAMED BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK FOR SECOND STRAIGHT TIME: Coastal Carolina’s Jack Leasure 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.

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 Hawai’i Nov. 26. He 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 (11th in the Big South) and hitting 45.9 percent (39-of-85) from the three-point arc, third best in the Big South Conference. He also leads the league in three-pointers per game with 2.79.

ANOTHER TOUGH LOSS AT RADFORD: Coastal Carolina University’s men’s basketball team played its first Big South Conference road game of the season and dropped it at Radford, 93-82, Jan. 8.

Coastal trailed just once in the first half at 5-4, and was tied at seven all with the host Highlanders at the first media timeout. From there, the Chants went on a 14-6 run to take a 21-13 lead with 11:16 to go. Radford fought back with a 9-2 run of its own in the next 4:09 to cut the margin to one at 23-22. Radford got it within one tow other times, while Coastal pushed the margin back to six each time, eventually coming out with a 44-38 halftime advantage.

Coastal knocked down 56.7 percent of its shots from the floor in the first half, including 4-for-8 from the three-point arc. CCU committed just three turnovers and converted six Radford miscues into nine points. The 44 points by the Chanticleers were the second-most they have tallied in the first half this season. CCU was led by sophomore Moses Sonko with 12 points, including 6-for-8 from the field. RU was led by Chris Oliver with 10, while Reggie McIntyre had nine.

The Chanticleers went cold from the floor to start the second half, while Radford heated up , going on a 15-6 run to open the second half and take a 53-50 lead with less than five minutes gone. After several surges, Coastal did eventually take the lead at 62-59 with 10:01 to play in the game. However, that would be CCU’s last lead, as the Chants went scoreless for the next 4:13 and Radford took control with a 10-0 run to go up 69-62 and never trail again.

Coastal finished the game at 50.0 percent from the field, but were outshot by the Highlanders, who hit on 52.6 percent from the floor. Free throws were decisive in this game, as RU canned went 31-for-41 from the charity stripe, while Coastal was just 14-for-21. The 55 points given by CCU in the second half were the most this season. It was also Radford’s 15th consecutive regular season win over the Chanticleers and 14th consecutive win over CCU at the Dedmon Center, dating back to the 1990-91 season.

Sonko led CCU with 18 points, while junior Pele Paelay added 14 and freshman Jack Leasure chipped in 13. Oliver led the Highlanders with 28 points, while Whit Holcomb-Faye scored 23 points on the night, 18 of them in the second half.

MOSES DOING HIS "PART" FOR THE TEAM: Sophomore Moses Sonko has started to look like the player CCU fans saw last year. After an early season injury, he showed his skills versus Jacksonville State, Dec. 14, as Sonko tied career-highs with 21 points and nine rebounds in the victory. In the last nine games, he has averaged 12.0 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. He is now averaging 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds on the year.

LAST YEAR GETTING THE WIN AT VMI - A DEFENSIVE JUGGERNAUT AGAINST THE KEYDETS: E.J. Gallup scored 13 points and Pele Paelay and Alvin Green added nine points each to lead the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team to victory over VMI, 49-32, Jan. 26.

The Chanticleers, playing tough defense throughout the low scoring affair, outrebounded VMI, 49-32, and limited the Keydets to a season-low 23 percent from the field. The 32 points were the lowest scored by a VMI team since 1953 when school modern records were first kept. It was also the third-lowest point total that Coastal has allowed in school history.

Coastal, leading by a 23-15 count at the break, limited the Keydets to just 15.8 percent (3-19) shooting in the second half, and built the lead to as much as 20 points (42-22) when Paelay connected on two free throws with 8:10 remaining. The Keydets could not come any closer than a 16-point deficit the rest of the way.

Coastal Carolina never trailed in the contest. The Chants opened up an early 9-4 lead on a Mihai Raducanu layup, but VMI rallied to tie the score at 11-11 on a Radee Skipworth dunk with 12:42 left. CCU’s Alvin Green responded 50 seconds later with a layup to put the Chanticleers up for good.

The Chanticleers used an 11-0 run second half run to break the game open. The Keydets went scoreless for over seven minutes and without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes before Fred Robinson canned a three-pointer at the 4:52 mark.

The 81 points by both teams were the fewest in Cameron Hall’s 22-year history. The 10 field goals by the Keydets were the fewest at Cameron Hall since 15 were netted by VMI in the facility’s first game against Virginia on Dec. 5, 1981. The 32 points fell short of the previous low of 33 points set in a 41-33 loss at James Madison on November 28, 1982.

FINISHING OFF THE 2003-04 SWEEP OF THE KEYDETS: Coastal Carolina completed the season sweep of VMI with a 60-44 win at Kimbel Arena, Sat., Feb. 14, 2004.

Coastal scored first on a layup by junior Clint Nagel in the first minute, but both teams struggled on the offensive end early, with VMI leading 11-8 with 11:36 to play in the first half. However, Coastal went on a 13-0 run over the next 5:27, capped by senior E.J. Gallup’s three pointer, to go up 21-11 and never look back.

After leading 25-16 at the intermission, the Chanticleers opened the second half on a 8-1 run to go up 16 and eventually built the lead to as much as 19 at 44-25 with 6:16 to go in the game. VMI went on a small run of 8-0 over the next 1:54 to bring it back to 44-33 but could get no closer down the stretch.

Gallup led Coastal’s offensive effort with 14 points, while Nagel posted his first career double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Pele Paelay also added 10, as all 13 Chants saw playing time. VMI was led by senior Radee Skipworth, who was the only Keydet in double figures with 14 points.

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 including 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 lockerroom firing and were able to close Coastal’s lead to five at 15:44 on Torrell Martin’s jumper. Sparked by junior Pele Paelay’s 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. WU’s 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.

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 16.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 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).

HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal has hit early and often from long range in the 2004-05 season. This season, Coastal has knocked down an average of 6.9 three pointers a game on 37.7 percent shooting, both averages ranking second in the league.

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 361, just 15 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.

NOTHING LIKE A NAGEL TO GET YOU GOING: Senior Clint Nagel was a significant part of the success in 2003-04 and looks to do it again this year. Last season, Nagel averaged 4.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, which ranked 10th in Big South only games. Nagel posted his first career double-double at VMI, Feb. 14 with career-bests of 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Keydets. Overall last season, Nagel led CCU and ranked 16th in the Big South in rebounding at 4.3 boards per game.

This season, Nagel has improved on both ends of the floor, averaging 6.6 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds a game, having started all 14 contests.

TWO SENIORS SERVE AS CO-CAPTAINS: Coastal Carolina has a pair of seniors as co-captains for the 2004-05 season in guard Alvin Green and forward Clint Nagel. Green started 24 of 27 games he played in last year and is the leading returning scorer at 7.1 points per game. Nagel played in all 29 contests last year for Coastal, starting 17 of them and averaging 3.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

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.