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Men's Basketball Returns Home for Quick Stop, Hosting Savannah State, Jan. 10

       

Men's Basketball Returns Home for Quick Stop, Hosting Savannah State, Jan. 10

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COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL

CHANTICLEERS vs. TIGERS

Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 ~ 7 p.m.
www.GoCCUSports.com

A QUICK TRIP HOME: The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball squad returns home for a brief visit, hosting Savannah State at Kimbel Arena, Jan. 10. This home game is wedged between three consecutive Big South Conference road games over a span of eight days. The Chanticleers opened the road portion of Big South action with a 68-60 win at UNC Asheville, Jan. 8. CCU will go back on the road this weekend, heading to Radford (Jan. 13) and VMI (Jan. 15).

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 28-16 record and holds a 194-125 overall coaching record in 10-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 20-10 mark, including 12-4 in Big South Conference play, falling in the Big South Tournament Championship game.

Horace Broadnax (Georgetown, '86) is in his second season as head coach at Savannah State with a 9-41 record at SSU and 51-129 in his seventh year as a head coach overall. Last season, the Tigers were 2-28 overall and have already improved that mark with seven victories so far this season. Savannah State returns four starters and eight letterwinners to this year’s team.

SERIES WITH SAVANNAH STATE: This is the first ever meeting between the Chanticleers and the Tigers.

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 is now 23-3 since the start of the 2002-03 season in non-conference games at Kimbel. CCU had a stellar 14-1 record at home last year, the most home victories since the program went Division I for the 1985-86 season. CCU is also 46-15 (75.4 percent) overall at the Conway campus venue in the last four-plus years, including a staggering 21-1 under current coach Buzz Peterson.

LAST TIME OUT - GETTING THE FIRST ROAD WIN AT UNC ASHEVILLE: Coastal Carolina got solid performances from forwards Moses Sonko and Joseph Harris in earning its first road win of the season, getting a 68-60 Big South Conference victory at UNC Asheville, Jan. 8. The victory was the Chanticleers fourth consecutive win, fourth straight win in the series and 12th straight regular season conference victory, dating back to last season.

Coastal got the first five points of the game, but UNCA answered with the next four. However, Coastal went on a 7-0 run the next three minutes to stretch the lead to 12-4 with 13:29 to play in the first half. UNCA trimmed the lead to three at 14-11, but Coastal made another surge, this time 9-2 to get its biggest lead of the game at 23-13 with 7:51 to go in the first. The Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes to tie the game at 23, but Coastal re-took the lead and eventually went into the halftime intermission with a 34-30 lead.

After trading baskets early in the second half, UNC Asheville got its first lead of the game on a layup by K.J. Garland to take a 39-38 lead with 15:09 remaining. But that was the only lead that the Bulldogs would have in the game, as Coastal reeled off the next five points to take a 43-39 lead with 13:41 to go. The Bulldogs would close the lead to one at 52-51 with 6:58 to go, but a three-pointer on the next possession by Joshua Mack stretched the lead back to four and Harris' jumper made it a six-point margin with less than five minutes to play. UNCA got as close as three, but a conventional three-point play by Sonko with 1:28 to play made it a two-possession game at 62-56. Coastal knocked down six of its seven free throws in the closing seconds to seal the 68-60 win.

CCU hit on 47.3 percent (26-for-55) of its shots from the floor, while UNCA hit just 41.0 percent (25-for-61) from the field. Though being outrebounded 37-34, Coastal made the difference at the free throw line, hitting 11-for-16 from the charity stripe as compared to UNCA's 6-for-10.

Sonko finished the contest with a game-high 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting and added four rebounds and one block. Harris posted his fourth double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Mack had 16 points, including 4-for-7 from the three-point arc. Sean Smith led UNCA with 14 points, while Vincent James and K.J. Garland had 11 and 10 points, respectively.

LEASURE NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Coastal Carolina guard Jack Leasure was selected as the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for games played Jan. 2-7, it was announced today by the League office.

Leasure broke through last week with his best back-to-back games of the season, averaging 22.0 points in leading the Chanticleers to two wins. He scored a season-high 24 points, going 7-of-11 from the field, 6-of-8 from three-point range and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, along with three assists and two steals in Coastal’s win over McNeese State. He followed that with 20 points, hitting 6-of-11 treys, as well as three assists and two steals in Saturday’s win over Charleston Southern. Leasure tallied 11 of his 20 points -- including three triples -- in the closing seven-and-a-half minutes to seal the win. On the week, Leasure was 14-of-26 from the field (53.8 percent), 12-of-19 from long range (63.2 percent), 4-of-4 from the line (1.000 percent) and tallied 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 rebounds.

DURING THE CURRENT WINNING STREAK: Coastal has done it on both ends of the floor during this four-game win streak. CCU has shot 48.2 percent (107-for-222) from the field while holding opponents to 41.1 percent (90-for-219). It is even more pronounced from the three-point line, as Coastal is 42.5 percent (34-for-80) with opponents just 22.7 percent (15-for-66). The Chants have also forced 3.8 more turnovers a game and dished out over 20 assists per contest.

SOME KEY ITEMS IN THE WINS: There are several important pieces for the Chanticleers in their wins early in the 2006-07 season. Coastal is 7-0 when leading at halftime and 8-0 when ahead with five minutes to go in the game. Defense is key also, as CCU is 8-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 6-0 when limiting opponents to less than 45 percent from the field. The Chants are also 6-0 when outrebounding and 6-1 when shooting more free throws than the opposition.

RANKING NATIONALLY: Coastal ranks in the top 85 in several national categories as a team, as of Jan. 7. CCU is 15th nationally in steals at 10.0 per game and 22nd with 17.5 assists per contest. Coastal also ranks 59th in three-pointers made with 7.9 per game.

Individually, junior guard Jack Leasure ranks 11th in three-pointers per game (3.4) and 80th in three-point field goal percentage (40.0), while senior forward Moses Sonko is 37th in field goal percentage at 58.0 percent. Freshman guard Joshua Mack is 100th in three-point field goal percentage (37.9), while sophomore forward Joseph Harris is 100th in steals with 1.9 per contest.

SONKO PARTING THE DEFENSE: And that is exactly what senior forward Moses Sonko has been doing on the offensive end of the floor for Coastal. After averaging 11.7 points a game last year, Sonko has stepped up and increased his scoring to 15.3 points per game, leading the squad and seventh in the conference. Over the last nine games, he has gone even higher, averaging 17.1 points, including a career-high 24 in the win over McNeese State, Jan. 2.

IF YOU BELIEVE IN FATE: And if you are a Chanticleer supporter, you have to feel good heading into Big South action. Last year, Coastal was over .500 in non-conference action entering the league and went 12-4 to finish second in the regular season and eventually advance to the Big South Championship game. This year, Coastal also started conference play at .500 for the second straight year, the first time that has occurred since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons and both those squads finished above .500 overall. The 1992-93 squad won the Big South Tournament title and earned the league's NCAA Tournament berth. Coastal will play a home-and-home non-conference series with Savannah State in the middle of the season to make up for the loss of Birmingham-Southern on the schedule.

J-MONEY: Junior Jack Leasure has been clutch from the three-point line in the past, but his most notable performance comes from the free-throw line. Leasure is an impressive 21-for-23 (91.3 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has not disappointed from the arc either, as he has hit 45 three-pointers in the early going.

MOVING UP THE SCORING RANKS: With his two free throws in the closing seconds of the win over Wright State, Nov. 19, junior Jack Leasure became the 14th member of CCU’s 1000-Point Club, accomplishing the feat in just two years and three games. He currently ranks 11th on Coastal's all-time scoring chart with 1,159 points, recently surpassing Manuel Jessup (1977-78) in with 1,124 points. Next on the hit parade is former teammate Pele Paelay (2002-06) in 10th with 1,178 points.

SONKO CLOSING IN ON THE 1,000 MARK: Senior forward Moses Sonko is working his way towards joining Coastal's elite 1,000-Point Club. He currently has 920 career points, just 80 shy of the magic mark. At his current scoring pace, Sonko would reach the milestone in the home game at Winthrop, Sat., Jan. 27.

LEADING THE WAY: Leaders often do the little things that don't show up in the stats. However with junior Jack Leasure, senior Moses Sonko and sophomore Joseph Harris, when they show up as leaders in the stats, in normally means good things for the Chanticleers. Over the last 44 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 20 occasions, posting a 17-3 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 9-4. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 19 of those contests, with CCU having an 13-6 mark in those games as well.

WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: During Coastal's eight wins, one of the keys for the Chanticleers was the rebounding battle. Coastal has dominated on the glass, outrebounding opponents by a combined margin of 322-246, an average of 9.5 more boards per game than its opponents. However in the six losses, the Chanticleers have not won the board battle, losing five and tying one with an average margin of 9.8 rebounds a game.

SONKO SHOOTING IT WELL: Senior forward Moses Sonko has been more assertive on the offensive end of the floor this season. Through Jan. 9, Sonko leading the team and Big South Conference in field goal percentage, now hitting 58.3 percent of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also pacing the team in scoring, tallying 15.3 points per contest, good for seventh in the league.

MACK ON THE ATTACK: Freshman guard Joshua Mack has shown some offensive skills during the early part of the season for the Chanticleers. Mack currently is third for Coastal and 22nd in the league in scoring at 10.7 points per game. He also ranks 10th in the Big South in assists at 3.14 per game, third in three-point field goal percentage at 39.4 percent and sixth in three-pointers made with 2.64 per game.

SETTLING THE STARTING LINEUP: After using five different starting lineups in the first 12 games, head coach Buzz Peterson has started the same group the last two games and looks to continue that trend tonight. Getting the nod for Coastal's last two games, including the win at UNC Asheville, has been guards Jack Leasure, Joshua Mack and Everage Richardson and forwards Moses Sonko and Joseph Harris., with the group currently 3-0 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 14 games to date.

HARRIS DOUBLES UP AGAIN: Sophomore Joseph Harris posted his fourth double-double of the season and sixth of his career in the win at UNC Asheville, Jan. 8, with 14 points and 10 boards. He had a streak of three straight games with double-doubles earlier in the season -- Campbell (14 pts., 13 reb.), Wright State (12 pts., 13 reb.) and Asbury (17 pts., 11 reb.)

He currently leads the team and is fifth in the Big South at 7.6 boards per contest and ranks fourth the squad at 8.0 points per game. He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in nine of the first 14 Coastal games this year.

LEASURE GETTING BACK IN HIS ZONE: After ending the 2005-06 season ranked second in the nation in three-pointers at 4.2 per game, junior Jack Leasure opened the season with no treys in the loss against Xavier. However, Leasure made up for that with flying colors in the 83-63 loss to Campbell. He led all scorers by hitting five from behind the arc and finishing the game with 19 points. He now has 45 three pointers in 14 games, an average of 3.2 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 255 three pointers, just 20 triples behind CCU all-time leader KeKe Hicks (1993-96) with 275.

Leasure had his best game of the season in the win over McNeese State, Jan. 2, as the guard scored a season-high 24 points, including going 6-for-8 from the three-point arc. He currently ranks second on the team and 11th in the league in scoring at 14.6 points per game.

JACK BELIEVES IN MAKING CHARITY COUNT: Junior guard Jack Leasure has made his opportunities at the free throw line worth something in his career. He has hit 114 of his 136 attempts at the line, a clip of 83.8 percent that is currently the second-best career free throw percentage in Coastal history.

SCHEDULE CHANGE FOR SPORTSOUTH: The Coastal Carolina-Winthrop clash at Kimbel Arena, Sat., Feb. 24, has been moved from 4:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. to allow SportSouth to televise the game. As part of that schedule change, the Coastal Carolina-High Point women's basketball game has been moved back to 5 p.m.

COASTAL TO PLAY IN ESPNU BRACKETBUSTERS: For the first time in the program's history, Coastal Carolina has been chosen as one of the Big South Conference's teams in the ESPNU BracketBusters event. ESPNU will televise five selected games from around the country. The pairings will be announced live on ESPNU, Monday, January 29 at 6 p.m.

BIG SOUTH ACTION LAST YEAR AT KIMBEL: In nine conference games against league foes at CCU’s Kimbel Arena, the Chanticleers posted eight victories, including wins over two-time defending champion Winthrop and today’s opponent, Charleston Southern. In fact, Coastal has won its last 13 games on the Conway floor, including seven straight against conference opponents. The only home loss was a 70-69 overtime defeat to Radford, Jan. 21, 2006.

MACK GETTING FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS FOR HOLIDAY PLAY: Coastal Carolina guard Joshua Mack received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors for games played Dec. 18-Jan. 1, it was announced by the League office.

Mack averaged 12.0 points in three games for the Chanticleers, scoring in double figures each contest. He had 10 points, four rebounds and three steals vs. College of Charleston, Dec. 18, tallied 14 points, three assists and four three-pointers at Florida State, Dec. 21, and notched 12 points, four assists and hit 57.1 percent from long range (4-of-7) vs. St. Andrews, Dec. 29. Mack was 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) from the field and 10-of-24 (41.7 percent) from three-point range, in addition to 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

SWEEPING THE BIG SOUTH AWARDS: Coastal Carolina forward Moses Sonko has been selected as the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for games played Dec. 11-17, while Chanticleers’ guard Joshua Mack received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors, it was announced Dec. 18 by the League office.

Sonko averaged 22.0 points on 67.9 percent (19-of-28) shooting from the floor in just 20.0 minutes per game in two contests. In an overtime loss at South Carolina State, Sonko was 9-of-16 (56.2 percent) from the floor and 4-of-5 from the line for a team-high 22 points. He also added three offensive rebounds. Then Dec. 16 vs. Brevard, Sonko again dropped in 22 points on 10-of-12 from the floor (83.3 percent), and was 2-of-2 from long range. Sonko, who entered the week averaging 13.8 points, also had 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, and now leads Coastal in scoring for the first time in his career.

Mack averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals in two games. At South Carolina State, Dec. 13, he posted a career-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting (63.6 percent) and hit 5-of-8 from three-point range, including the one that sent the game into overtime. Mack also added three rebounds and five assists at SCSU. He then had seven points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in limited action against Brevard, Dec. 16.

WALK-ONS GETTING THE STAGE: In the home win over Southern Virginia, Nov. 29, two walk-ons got a chance to play their most minutes in a Coastal uniform. Junior David Long and sophomore Ashton Lawrence got in with just over three minutes to play in the contest. Long score one point, grabbed a career-best three rebounds and had his first collegiate block, while Lawrence tallied a career-best four points and added another career-high with three rebounds.

Long then followed it up with his first career start at South Carolina State, Dec. 13. He played a career-best 19 minutes and had three assists, one rebound and one steal in the contest. Long then posted career bests of five points and four assists in the win over Brevard.

A new walk-on saw action against Brevard, as sophomore Michael Ward played four minutes, hitting his only shot for two points, grabbed one rebounds and dished out one assist.

ANOTHER MONTH OF WINNING: With the victory over Southern Virginia, Coastal finished November with a 3-2 mark. This was the sixth consecutive month of play that Coastal had posted a .500 or better mark. As a matter of fact under second year head coach Buzz Peterson, CCU has had only one losing month and that was his first last November with Coastal having a 1-2 mark with losses at Wisconsin and Minnesota as part of the month. Prior to Peterson joining CCU, the Chanticleers had only one .500 month in the previous eight of play.

MACK NAMED BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Coastal Carolina guard Joshua Mack was named the Big South Conference’s Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week, announced by the League office Nov. 27. This is Mack’s first award at CCU.

Mack scored a career-high 17 points in 21 minutes off the bench against Asbury, including 5-of-9 three pointers (55.6 percent). He added four rebounds and three assists, and was 6-of-12 overall from the floor in helping the Chanticleers to a 93-64 victory. For the year, he is averaging 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

WINNING THE HOME OPENER: After playing its first two games away from home, the Coastal Carolina men's basketball squad returned to Kimbel Arena with a victory defeating Wright State in double overtime 70-63, Nov. 19. The Chanticleers were led by Jack Leasure, who had 22 points and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Moses Sonko also had a big night with 20 points while Joseph Harris chipped in 12 off the bench.

NEWCOMERS GET SOME EXPERIENCE: Coastal had three freshman make a significant impact in the season opener at Xavier, Nov. 11. Redshirt freshman Logan Johnson got his first start in a Chanticleer jersey recording four points and two rebounds. Johnson also was 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Joshua Mack also got his first collegiate start scoring 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers and two rebounds. Randon Cavette tallied five points from off the bench and pulled down one defensive rebound.

THE FIRST YEAR WAS A GOOD START: For head coach Buzz Peterson accomplishing much in Coastal annals. Among first year CCU coaches, he led last year's team to more victories (20) and Big South wins (12) than any previous first-year Coastal coach. He also engineered a 10-win turnaround from last season's 10-19 mark, the third-best in school history and seventh best in Division I basketball last season.

SOME BIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS LAST YEAR: The Chanticleers have some significant accomplishments in the 2005-06 season. Coastal posted its first winning season, both overall and in the Big South, since 1993-94 when CCU was 15-11 and 10-8 in the league. Coastal's 20 wins were the most since the 1992-93 team went 22-10 and the 12 league victories were the most since that same team was 12-4. Additionally, the Chants' 14 home victories last year were the most since the program went Division I during the 1985-86 season.

THEY SAY TALKING ABOUT STREAKS ISN'T GOOD: But for the Chanticleers, the win streak late last year was a good one. CCU put together a 12-game winning streak, surpassing the previous record of 11 games, set during the 1992-93 season. It was also the fourth-longest current win streak in the NCAA Division I when it ended.

MORE HISTORY ACHIEVED: Digging into the historical archives of Coastal basketball, last year's team made its mark on the record books.

Among the team records, Coastal's 20 wins tied for the seventh-most in school history, while the Chanticleers hit 241 three-pointers, setting a new single-season school record. Coastal's free-throw percentage of 74.4 percent (381-for-512) was the top single-season mark in school annals, while last year's team ranked 10th in assists (460) and eighth in blocked shots (64).

INDIVIDUALS IN THE COASTAL RECORD BOOKS: Several Coastal players added their name to the school's records list, both for a single season and for their career.

Last year, guard Jack Leasure broke the school and league's three-pointers made record, a mark set at 125. His 535 points last year rank 10th all-time. Junior forward Moses Sonko finished fifth in single-season free-throw percentage at 84.2 percent and sixth in field-goal percentage at 55.6 percent.

SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL’S VICTORIES LAST YEAR: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal was 17-4 when leading at the break, 18-1 when ahead with five minutes to play and 16-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal was 15-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 11-3 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. The Chants were also 18-2 when giving up less than 15 turnovers and 14-2 when shooting at least 45 percent from the floor. Another interesting note is that when guard Jack Leasure led Coastal in scoring, the Chants were 13-2. Actually in all but one of CCU's 20 victories, either Leasure or guard Pele Paelay at least shared team-high scoring honors. That one game was the win over Charleston Southern in the semifinals, Mar. 2.

PETERSON EARNED RECOGNITION: CCU head coach Buzz Peterson continued to earn regional and national recognition for the job he did with the Chanticleers last year. After finishing as the runner-up for Big South Coach of the Year, Peterson was named a finalist for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com, as well as the publication's Big South Coach of the Year. The group also named guard Jack Leasure as its Big South Player of the Year.

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 ninth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, there will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.